Researchers from Korea have found a possible link between low testosterone and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).
In a propensity-matched study, they found that total testosterone levels below 3.5 ng/mL (or 350 ng/dL) were “significantly correlated with prostatitis-like symptoms.”
CP/CPPS is the most common form of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland). Men with the condition may experience pain or discomfort in the groin or genitals, or bladder. They may also feel pain when ejaculating and urinating.
The relationship between total testosterone and CP/CPPS has not been widely studied and available research has had mixed results.
For the current study, the scientists used propensity score matching to identify 948 men whose total testosterone levels were below 3.5 ng/mL (the case group) and 4,740 men with levels equal to or higher than that benchmark (the control group). The men were over age 40 and had undergone a urologic health screening that included assessments of blood pressure, waist circumference, height, weight, as well as blood and urine analyses and consideration of other health factors.
Each man completed a series of questionnaires, including the National Institutes of Health – Chronic Prostatitis Symptoms Index (NIH-CPSI). Higher scores on this tool indicate more severe prostatitis symptoms.
The scientists found higher rates of mild, moderate, and severe CP/CPPS in the case group. These men also had higher overall scores on the NIH-CPSI as well as pain and quality of life domains.
The authors acknowledged that the cause of CP/CPPS is “multifactorial” and that they did not have information on the men’s behaviors, such as smoking or drinking. Such factors could have influenced the results.
They added that further research is needed to confirm the findings.
The study was first published online in May in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
International Society for Sexual Medicine
“What is chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS)?”
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Lee, Jun Ho MD, PhD and Sung Won Lee, MD, PhD
“Testosterone and Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis”
(Full-text. Published online: May 24, 2016)