Prostatitis symptoms associated with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) can be more easily evaluated using the UPOINT system. The UPOINT system is a classification tool to help doctors better understand a man’s prostatitis symptoms and how to treat them.
Prostatitis symptoms and CP/CPPS
Prostatitis symptoms associated with CP/CPPS include chronic pain, urinary tract problems such as urinary urgency and urinary frequency, erectile dysfunction, and emotional difficulties, among others. Although CP/CPPS is the most common type of prostatitis, researchers have not yet discovered one specific chronic prostatitis treatment that is helpful for all patients.
The main reason why it is difficult to effectively treat prostatitis symptoms in CP/CPPS is that the disease is complex. Every man is affected at different levels and with different characteristics of the disease. To help identify and treat prostatitis symptoms, a group of researchers developed the UPOINT system in 2009.
What is the UPOINT system?
The UPOINT system is a six-point evaluation tool that helps doctors classify men who have prostatitis symptoms. Once a man has been classified according to the points, a physician can choose the most appropriate treatment.
The six points are urinary symptoms, psychosocial dysfunction, organ specific findings, infection, neurological/systemic, and tenderness of muscles. Each of these points is associated with specific information about how the symptom is produced or progresses and with specific ways to treat or manage it.
For example, consider a man who has muscle tenderness and organ specific symptoms. He may be prescribed prostate massage or biofeedback for the tenderness and pollen extract or quercetin (a phytonutrient in fruits and vegetables) for the organ specific problems.
Another man may have urinary symptoms and psychological issues. This patient may be prescribed alpha-blockers for the urinary problems and counseling for emotional support.
Doctors who use the UPOINT system can create a treatment program that fits the specific needs of the patient based on his prostatitis symptoms in six categories. Now a new study has looked at a modification to the UPOINT system.
Modified UPOINT system
Researchers in China explored the addition of an erectile dysfunction classification to the UPOINT system. Erectile dysfunction is among the common prostatitis symptoms.
A total of 389 Chinese men with CP/CPPS were classified according to each domain of the UPOINT system. In addition, erectile function was evaluated using the International Index of Erectile Function. The authors found that as the number of domains increased, the severity of erectile dysfunction was significantly associated with the number of domains the men experienced.
Based on this observation, the researchers noted that adding an erectile dysfunction domain to the UPOINT system seemed to improve the effectiveness of the system. Therefore they concluded their findings support using erectile dysfunction as a separate item in UPOINT.
Men who suffer with CP/CPPS can experience a wide variety of prostatitis symptoms that can be classified into different categories. The UPOINT system may help identify and treat those symptoms. In addition to the six points that make up the UPOINT system, clinicians also may want to consider erectile dysfunction when evaluating, detecting and diagnosing prostatitis.
Read more in our Prostatitis Health Center.
Zhao Z et al. Clinical utility of the UPONT phenotype system in Chinese males with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS): a prospective study. PLoS One 2013; 8(1): e52044