Heightened awareness of patients’ reasons for physician visits for male pelvic pain (nonbacterial prostatitis) and symptom concerns may increase patient satisfaction with care and help guide better management of this syndrome, for which evidence-based treatment is lacking.
We interviewed men with recent health maintenance organization visits for new episodes of nonbacterial prostatitis (N = 286; mean age, 46.7 years) and again 3, 6, and 12 months later. We inquired about their reasons for the visit and, at each interview, symptom concerns. We used Poisson regression to examine the association between baseline symptom worry and health care utilization during the 14 months after the index visit.
Most patients reported concern at the index visit that they might have an infection (73%) or cancer (68%). One year later, 43% reported prostatitis symptoms in the past month. Among these, many were still concerned that their symptoms would worsen if untreated (71%), that they had cancer (46%) or an infection (45%), and that they might need surgery (44%). Controlling for patient age and baseline symptom severity, we found that baseline symptom worry predicted prostatitis-related health care visits over the 14 months after the index visit (P = .005).
Despite symptom improvement following a health care visit for a new episode of pelvic pain/nonbacterial prostatitis, continued patient concerns about cancer, infection, and symptom worsening without treatment were common, even 1 year later. Patient worry may be associated with increased health care utilization.