Harvard Perspectives on Prostate Disease

Finding help for pelvic pain: A patient's story

In the spring of 1996, André James* was under a great deal of stress. Married, with a young family to support, he was finishing his medical training at a big-city hospital and anxiously searching for a job. One day, he suddenly experienced severe testicular pain. It was as if someone grabbed both testicles and kept tightening his grip.

*Editor's note: To protect his privacy, the patient's name and some biographical details have been changed. All medical details are as reported. Although Perspectives does not typically name the patient's physicians, James requested that they be included in this article.

Frightened, James immediately saw a urologist, who examined him, ran several tests, and declared that he could find nothing wrong. But he noted that he often saw police officers, who were under tremendous stress, with the same symptoms. Stress, the physician said, might have triggered James' symptoms, but he prescribed an antibiotic just in case one of the tests had failed to detect a bacterial infection. It took two rounds of antibiotics and several weeks' time, but the pain finally went away. And when James found a job at another hospital, the stress went away, too.

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