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Lower back pain and recurring UTI/epididymitis
timng posted:
I'm male, 33y. I've these symptoms for about 2 years. I've lower back pain, mostly at the center (lumbar spine) towards the right side, though sometimes on the left too. Normally it's not painful but only discomfort; however when I bend my lower back backward (or try to sit very straight) then there is pain, which feels like muscle or spine pain. When I walk, I've a feeling that my body is unbalanced and a bit tilted to the right. Also, occasionally I have UTI symptoms (urinate frequently, burning pain in the penis and pelvic/bladder area after urinating which lasts 3-10 minutes). Each period of the "UTI symptoms" lasts from 1 day to 1 week. Recently in the past 4 months, I also have recurring episodes of epididymitis on the right side (sometimes coincides with UTI symptoms) with swollen right epididymis and discomfort in the scrotum & right pelvic side. I also have slight discomfort in the right thigh, especially when the UTI/epididymitis happens.

I've seen 1 family doctor (my previous PCP), 1 internist (my current PCP), and 2 urologists in the past 9 months. I've taken tests: many urine tests, several blood tests, 2 scrotum ultrasounds, 1 bladder ultrasound, 1 kidney ultrasound, STD tests, HIV test, etc. All came back normal/negative, except the right epididymis was enlarged when it's swollen, of course, but still in "acceptable" range. My prostate was physically examined 2 months ago and its size was normal. No kidney stone, no bacteria found, no lump, kidneys and livers function normally, etc. All the doctors had no idea what's wrong with me; and they kept saying I'm fine because I'm young and healthy. They only prescribed Cipro whenever I had UTI symptoms or epididymitis, which I didn't know would help or not because the symptoms would subside even without any treatment.

These symptoms are not life-threatening nor extremely painful, but severely affecting my life. My quality of life (work, personal, sex) has been going downhill because of them. I really really want to find out what the root causes are and how to cure them for good.

So my questions are:
1) What could be wrong with me? What could be the root causes of these problems?

2) I've been reading a lot, and I have 2 theories (which I haven't discussed with my doctors). I'm no medical doctor, so I'd like to know if my theories make sense.

2a) Perhaps my immune system is weak, which makes me vulnerable to recurring infections (UTI and epididymitis), e.g. diabetes. My doctors didn't think so because I'm "young and healthy."

2b) Perhaps the root cause is a structural problem of my lumbar spine. For the last 8 years, my work involved using the computer many hours/day, and my posture was not always good. Not only the spine but also the muscles in my lower back have issues. This causes my lower back pain/discomfort. And because the lumbar spine is tightly connected with the pelvis and abdomen, the weak spine and muscles cause other problems.

I hope that someone here can shed some light on my problems. Thank you very much!
counterso responded:
You don't have a UTI. Taking repeated antibiotics has only weakened your immune system, especially if you have done nothing to rebuild it after the antibiotics.

Your doctors are clearly dismissive, even though they have given you a battery of tests.

It is possible that there is a persistent epididymitis condition that has never been fully resolved, and this could be a large part of what's occurring.

You might also just have some kind of nerve impingement as you have suggested, either from posture, or a bad structural alignment. There are good and bad chiropractors, but certainly worth a visit to find out, especially going when you feel the discomfort. A good chiropractor will probably tell you it will take 1-3 visits to fix. A bad one will give you a frequent visitor card.

Anyway, men only get UTIs for one of three reasons, none of which I expect apply to you. You should NEVER take an antibiotic unless you have been specifically tested and found to have an actual infection.

You should not have to suffer. Discuss your thoughts with your doctor. Experiment with the chiropractor if you want to. Don't let it just get you down.
timng replied to counterso's response:
Hi counterso. Thank you very much for your answer. I also suspect that there is a root cause (even some causes) of my problems, that either causes UTI-like symptoms or makes me vulnerable to recurrent infections. I will see my doctor soon and will discuss this with him. Thanks again!
counterso replied to timng's response:
Unresolved epididymitis is much more likely a recurrent symptom-causing situation. It can be challengin to fully treat, and really needs to be resolved to prevent scar tissue from forming.

UTIs only occur in men for one of three reasons, as I mentioned, and those are:
1) sticking something in your urethra
2) poor hygiene (incontinence)
3) physical abnormality

For number 3, you would have had UTIs your whole life if that were the case.

I would still go with the more likely scenario that you're having some nerve impingement and check that out first before looking for additional internal medicine diagnostics.

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