Causes and Diagnosis

Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes Causes and Diagnosis

Chronic pelvic pain may be caused by interstitial cystitis, prostatitis or other conditions. The cause of the chronic pain depends on the condition.

Causes of interstitial cystitis may include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Bacterial infection
  • Bladder trauma
  • Genetics
  • Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction

Risk factors for prostatitis may include:

  • Increasing age
  • Infection caused by bacteria in urine that enter the prostate
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Nerve damage to the urinary tract
  • Genetics
  • Autoimmune disorders

Diagnosing Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes

A questionnaire called the Chronic Pelvic Symptom Index (CPSI) is used to assess your symptoms and to guide treatment decisions. Your physician will review your medical history and CPSI, and then perform a physical exam.

Other tests may include:

  • Urinalysis: This test checks for blood cells, germs (like bacteria) or excess protein in the urine.
  • Urine culture: This test will rule out a urinary tract infection (UTI), as symptoms of chronic pelvic pain syndromes are similar to UTI symptoms.
  • Cystourethroscopy: Also known as a cystoscopy, this test examines the inside of your bladder and urethra.
  • CT scan: This test uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the urinary tract.

You may also qualify for more detailed assessment as a part of the NIH Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) study. This research study covers:

  • Epidemiology of disease
  • Neuroimaging
  • Phenotyping
  • Identification of biomarkers
  • Characterization of organ cross talk/pain pathways