Prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain
Prof Ericka JohnsonZoom
Prostatitis ‘is’ an inflammation of the prostate, causing pain and urination problems. While a common explanation for chronic pelvic pain, prostatitis is often silenced in the cultural discourse. Men, patient groups, activists, and celebrities are not mobilizing around prostatitis like they have for prostate cancer.
In this paper I will discuss what prostatitis does in and out of the clinic through analysis of men’s lived experiences, the diagnostic trajectory, and treatments. I will show connections to masculinities by examining prostatitis’ relationship to sporting, drinking, paid labour, and sexual and emotional relations. I also makes visible other bodies affected by prostatitis; partners, drinking companions, fishing mates, colleagues… people who have, knowingly or unknowingly, been affected by (and probably had an effect on) the prostatitis. Prostatitis is thereby a condition which influences the individual diagnosed with it and impacts those in relations with that body. However, while relational aspects of prostatitis appear in interviews with patients, they are often invisible at the point of diagnosis.
Using theories from feminist critiques of medicine, I ask which silences are enabled or challenged by ‘prostatitis’, suggesting we feel more comfortable talking about the prostate than other diffuse pain conditions in the pelvic region.