Researchers at St. Mary’s Seoul Hospital have confirmed the efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave therapy in treating chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
|Professors Kim Sae-woong (left) and Bae Woong-jin|
The prostate gland encloses the urethra in the lower part of the bladder. It is a male reproductive organ that produces specific components of semen and releases them through the urethra. Any problems with the prostate can interfere with urine and semen drainage and cause other health problems.
Since the prostate is a representative organ that degrades due to aging, the hospital expects that the number of patients with prostate disease will continue to increase in this era of population aging.
Chronic prostatitis, mainly caused by the inflammation of the prostate, is a disease of urination and sexual dysfunction. The condition is sometimes also referred to as chronic pelvic pain syndromes, as there are cases where the inflammation is unclear while showing similar symptoms.
The disease is common among men under 50 years of age, and according to local research, the prevalence of the disease in males 5 to 9 percent.
The cause of the disease is not known precisely. Prostate infections can happen due to bacteria or viruses, autoimmune diseases, stress, pelvic damage, neurological abnormalities, and many other factors. Frequent urination, urination pain, perineum and pelvic pain, including testicles, various urinary tract discomforts, including residual urine, are symptoms of the disease.
Conventional treatments include antibiotics, alpha-blockers, analgesics, skeletal muscle relaxants, prostate massage, heat therapy, and biofeedback. However, as the cause of inflammation is unclear, and various factors lead to the disease, it is difficult to treat, while frequent relapses reduce the quality of life.
Presuming that low-intensity extracorporeal shockwaves would be effective, the team, led by Professors Kim Sae-woong and Bae Woong-jin at the hospital, conducted animal studies to confirm that low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave’s effectiveness in treating prostatitis by reducing inflammation and promoting tissue recovery.
The team became the first to reveal the mechanism for inflammatory relief in prostatitis. While other studies have investigated the mechanisms of extracorporeal shockwaves reducing inflammation, this was the first to reveal the mechanisms of inflammation relief in prostatitis.
Extracorporeal shock wave treatment delivers an electric shock wave to painful areas outside the body. Until now, hospitals mainly used therapy to relieve pain or treat urolithiasis in patients with arthritis or pelvic pain.
Low-intensity extracorporeal shock therapy for patients with chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome reduces the inflammatory response. It heals tissues by directly applying low-intensity extracorporeal shock waves to the prostate gland.
The team's low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy directly applies the shockwave to the prostate to reduce the inflammatory response and heal tissues through vascular remodeling and anti-inflammatory effects.
“As chronic prostatitis is hard to cure and can easily relapse even after multiple treatments, many patients have tried unproven therapy as well as hospital treatment,” Professor Kim said. “The study is intended to provide confidence for patients dissatisfied with the outcome of treatment.”
The study was published in the August edition of The Prostate.