Analysis of the human microbiome continues to reveal new and previously unrealized associations between microbial dysbiosis and disease. Novel approaches to bacterial identification using culture-independent methods allow practitioners to discern the presence of alterations in the taxa and diversity of the microbiome and identify correlations with disease processes. While some of these diseases that have been extensively studied are well-defined in their etiology and treatment methods (colorectal cancer), others have provided much more significant challenges in both diagnosis and treatment. One such condition, chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), has several etiological and potentiating contributions from infection, inflammation, central nervous system (CNS) changes, stress, and central sensitization-all factors that play important roles in the crosstalk between the human body and its microbiome. No singular cause of CP/CPPS has been identified and it is most likely a syndrome with multifactorial causes. This heterogeneity and ambiguity are sources of significant frustration for patients and providers alike. Despite multiple attempts, treatment of chronic prostatitis with monotherapy has seen limited success, which is thought to be due to its heterogeneous nature. Phenotypic approaches to both classify the disease and direct treatment for CP/CPPS have proven beneficial in these patients, but questions still remain regarding etiology. Newer microbiome research has found correlations between symptom scores and disease severity and the degree of dysbiosis in urine and gut (stool) microbiomes in these patients as compared to un-afflicted controls. These findings present potential new diagnostic and therapeutic targets in CP/CPPS patients.
Keywords: Microbiota; chronic pain; pelvic pain; prostatitis.