Patients with chronic prostatitis/pelvic pain syndrome typically report genital or pelvic pain (in or around the penis, perineum, scrotum) lasting >3 months. Whereas true chronic bacterial prostatitis is an uncommon condition characterised by recurrent prostatic and urinary infection, chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) is a common condition in which no infection is found. Recent surveys suggest a prevalence of 2.5–3% for CPPS. The four-glass test, traditionally used to distinguish inflammatory and inflammatory forms of CPPS, has not been adequately validated; whether the distinction is clinically meaningful is increasingly questioned. The aetiology of CPPS is not known; urodynamic studies imply a neuromuscular origin. More recent work supports a role for proinflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis. In the management of chronic bacterial prostatitis, trials support the use of quinolone antibiotics as first-line treatment. In contrast, the management of CPPS is generally unsatisfactory, as no reliable treatment has been identified. Treatments commonly tried include antibiotics (notably tetracyclines, quinolones and macrolides), anti-inflammatory agents, and alpha blockers. Newer approaches include trials of finasteride, quercetin and rofecoxib. A recent systematic review demonstrated that none of the current diagnostic and treatment methods for CPPS is supported by a robust evidence base.