Pelvic pain refers to any pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen.
Pelvic pain in males is often related to the intestines or urinary tract. Psychological factors can make the pain seem worse, or even cause a sensation of pain where no physical problem exists.
Pelvic pain can range from mild discomfort or cramping, to severe, intense pain. This pain may be acute, when it occurs suddenly, or chronic, when the pain lasts for a long period of time.
Pelvic pain in males has many causes, including:
Other causes are also possible. In some cases, the cause is never found.
When a male complains of pelvic pain, the healthcare provider may ask:
Other questions may also be asked.
Diagnosis of pelvic pain begins with a history and physical exam. Tests that may be done include:
Prevention of pelvic pain may or may not be possible, depending on the cause. For example, practicing safer sex may decrease the risk of epididymitis. Early treatment for infection of the genital tract is important in decreasing the risk of pelvic pain.
Long-term effects are related to the cause of the pelvic pain. For example, irritable bowel syndrome may make a person uncomfortable and even depressed, but poses no serious long-term health risks. A small kidney stone may pass by itself and have no long-term effects. A large kidney stone may require surgery to remove it.
Appendicitis and cancer may lead to death if treatment is unsuccessful. If untreated, testicular torsion can lead to the loss of the testicle and increase the risk of infertility.
Pelvic pain itself is not contagious and poses no risk to others. If the cause is an infection, such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae\ bacteria. The infection is usually acquired through sexual contact. ',CAPTION,'Gonorrhea in Males');" onmouseout="return nd();">gonorrhea, the infection may be contagious.
Treatment for pelvic pain depends on the cause of the pain. Treatment may include:
Side effects of treatments depend on the treatment used for the pelvic pain. There may be stomach upset, diarrhea, or allergic reaction to antibiotics. There may be stomach upset, ulcers and bleeding, or allergic reaction to NSAIDs. Treatments that require surgery pose a risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reactions to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment depends on the success of the treatment and the cause. For example, a person who passes a kidney stone or has it removed may not need any further treatment. Someone with cancer may need long-term treatment for the cancer and may die if treatment is unsuccessful.
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider. Other monitoring depends on the cause of the pelvic pain.
Author:Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
Editor:Duff, Ellen, BA
Reviewer:Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Fauci et al, 1998
The Merck Manual of Medical Information, 1997
Professional Guide to Diseases, 1998