Would you believe it if someone told you that simply getting more exercise could help relieve prostatitis symptoms? If you are looking for natural and alternative drug-free treatments for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) it might be time to get moving and doing exercise for prostatitis. There are two categories of exercise that can be helpful: 1) aerobic exercise and 2) specific types of therapeutic exercises.
How Does Exercise for Prostatitis Work?
The amount of exercise in general that a man gets can have a significant impact on prostate health. Exercise not only helps prostatitis patients but also men with enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH). Doing moderate and vigorous exercises has proven helpful for reducing a man’s risk for BPH and lower urinary tract symptoms. Even though BPH and prostatitis are different conditions, they can share some similar symptoms and both are positively affected by exercise.
In 2007 the Journal of Urology published a study that found that aerobic exercise reduced symptoms of CP/CPPS and improved the men’s scores on the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH CPSI).
An Italian study on exercise and prostatitis demonstrated that aerobic exercise helps relieve prostatitis pain. Researchers randomly assigned 231 sedentary men with prostatitis to do exercises three times per week for 18 weeks. One group was given aerobic exercise (walking and strengthening exercises). The other group did nonaerobic exercise (including leg lifts and sit-ups). At the end of 18 weeks, both groups felt better, but the group that did aerobic exercise experienced significantly greater improvements in CPPS pain levels as well as improvements in anxiety, depression, and quality of life. The researchers concluded, “improvement in the aerobic exercise group were significantly superior compared to those in the placebo/stretching and motion exercises group.”
Aerobic exercise (also known as cardiovascular exercise) helps fight inflammation, which is beneficial for managing prostatitis. Aerobic activities include fast walking, hiking, jogging, running, rowing, cycling, dancing, jumping rope, basketball, tennis, cross-country skiing, dancing, and using cardiovascular machines such as stair climbing machines. You can also take group exercise aerobic classes at the gym. Find something you like so you will stick with it.
Other types of exercises that help relieve prostatitis pain and other symptoms include activities that help reduce stress and tension such as yoga and tai chi. Since stress can be a large contributor to pelvic tension, these types of exercises also work as part of stress management for prostatitis.
Experts estimate that pelvic tension and pelvic floor muscle disorders are responsible for pain in about 50% of CP/CPPS cases. There are a number of therapies and treatment protocols involving pelvic floor exercises. The Renew XY Health Program for Men is a physiotherapy program that involves doing several exercises for prostatitis. The “NPAT” Treatment Program for Prostatitis is a whole-body wellness plan that also includes exercise as part of its total body component. The letter in NPAT stands for:
- Natural treatments (ALCAT, elimination diets, and wheat-free diets);
- Phytotherapy (pollen and quercetin together with probiotics);
- Alternative treatments (acupuncture, prostate massage, pelvic rehabilitation and therapy); and
- Total body (exercise, chronic stress management, lifestyle).
Holistic treatment programs such as NPAT include many different types of treatment approaches and lifestyle changes because a multimodal approach is often necessary to successfully treat CP/CPPS.
What Should I Know About Doing Exercise for Prostatitis?
While exercising is generally good for prostatitis, you should be aware that not all exercises are good for prostatitis. Men who have CP/CPPS should avoid doing Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises actually increase pelvic tension, which could make symptoms worse. Cycling can also be a problem. Some men find that doing long periods of cycling can exacerbate prostatitis symptoms. If you notice that cycling affects your pain or other prostatitis symptoms, you might consider changing your bike seat to a softer seat or find one that puts less pressure on the prostate area. At your local bike shop you should be able to find seats that are noseless, split, or have a soft central area that may be more comfortable and put less pressure on the prostate area.
It is hard to remember that treating prostatitis can take time and patience. But adopting healthy habits such as getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating well will help you make positive gains in your prostate health and overall health as well.
Research on exercise for prostatitis:
Giubilei G, Mondaini N, Minervini A, et al. Physical Activity of Men with Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome Not Satisfied with Conventional Treatments — Could It Represent a Valid Option? The Physical Activity and Male Pelvic Pain Trial: A Double-Blind, Randomized Study. Journal of Urology 2007;177:159–65. PMID: 17162029.