Gluten and CP/CPPS

I, the webmaster of this site, was the first person ever to note on the internet that gluten can affect symptoms. Back in the 1990s I wrote:

I gave up wheat years ago, mainly because of the loose bowels it caused me. I also noticed that my two bad CP/CPPS flares since “conquering” my CP/CPPS were both associated with periods of re-introduction of wheat, oats and barley into my diet. I posted messages to various prostatitis and IC/PBS message boards in the mid-1990s, but nobody responded. I searched the Internet and found no hits, at that time, for wheat or gluten and prostatitis or interstitial cystitis. I also searched the PubMed database, but found nothing that connected the conditions to gluten.

However, I’ve proved, over and over again, that this phenomenon is real. If I start eating gluten-containing foods, I go from next to zero symptoms to noticing, when crouching, an immense upwelling of pain in my groin. After I posted my experiences on the Internet, and then on this website, a number of men followed my example and reported a tremendous response to wheat exclusion diets. Here’s a typical posting:

Now after being on a wheat free diet for 4 months my irritable bowel syndrome, urinary problems, and best of all, sexual dysfunction have all abated. (Viagra wasn’t even working for me before.) My uro can’t believe how firm my prostate has become.( Just had a check-up today.) No trace of bacteria before or after massage! I was resigned to the fact that I would probably have a lousy, prostatitis-burdened life for the rest of my life. Now I am feeling normal, energetic and healthy again.

Other men commented:

After dealing with this problem for many years, I have found that reducing my gluten intake as much as possible (complete elimination is almost impossible in a Western diet – unless I make it my life’s mission) has been the only thing to reduce my symptoms.

as well as:

Wheat definitely is a key for me. I wanted to add that I was screwing up initially with the wheat free diet since SO many things secretly contain gluten. It’s been about 3 months and symptoms are 90-95% better so far.

and more recently:

I am 34 years old and had prostate prostate problems since early 20s. From around 3 years ago the problem became increasingly worse and seriously impacted my lifestyle. I had problems urinating. Would wake up 3-5 times a night only to urinate a few drops. I had extreme pain sitting down for more than 15 mins. I never thought looking at a chair would bring such dread. I would regularly leave social events due to the extreme pain or just avoid it all together. My doctor prescribed me very strong antibiotics which initially started with 2 week treatment. This worked the first time but the condition came back a few months later. With each return visit he would prescribe stronger and longer treatment of antibiotics, from 3 months up to 4 months. Unfortunately these were no longer effective. I even saw an experienced urologist and he basically told me that he sees someone like me coming into his clinic 1-3 times a week and basically told me there is no cure and that I would just have to live with it. Because of the extreme pain and the negative impact it was having on my life, I scoured the internet and tried almost everything from drinking broccoli juice, litres of cranberry juice, taking hot baths, vitamins, oils, avoiding coffee, garlic, onions, chilli, weird stretch exercises, all that. None of which worked. The remedy which worked for me is avoiding Gluten! Simple as that. Ever since avoiding gluten the symptoms have gone 95%. I don’t think about it prostatitis anymore because it doesn’t impact my life! Sometimes it is difficult to avoid gluten all together and sometimes I would eat a piece of bread or have a beer. And sometimes it would flare up a little bit but this is miniscule compared to the pain I was in during the torturous times.

Interestingly, according to the old-fashioned way of testing for celiac disease (colon biopsy in 1992), I do not have celiac disease, although the newer blood tests may come up with a different result. If I ever have those blood tests, I’ll report back. I probably won’t have those tests though because they are inaccurate unless you are currently consuming gluten in your diet, and for me to go back to eating gluten would be too self-destructive. But I certainly have a gluten-induced IBS with inflammation, and after wheat ingestion I get very sleepy, depressed and irritable, with headache, diarrhoea, and sometimes even skin rash.

Gluten can be a nerve poison for some people, and this may be the link. This issue is covered in more depth on our forum. This would be a great topic for research!

Update: as of October 2014, a search of “prostatitis and gluten” brings up zero hits on PubMed, and so does a search for “gluten and interstitial cystitis”. A search for “gluten and pelvic pain” brings up a 2002 study. Close, but no cigar.

However, a link between IC/BPS and gluten was recorded in 2012 in the BMJ, so there is some progress on this issue!

Another interesting aspect to emerge in the last few years is the link between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and CPPS (and IC). This link is confirmed in more than one study. On top of that comes new research into IBS that shows it can be successfully controlled in most patients by following a FODMAP-free diet, which is a diet that excludes gluten, inter alia.

If you wish to use this link between gluten and UCPPS in your book, or your website, or your research, please give attribution to me or this site.