As part of SDSM’s weekly blog posts during Men’s Health Month, we’d like to encourage you to read up on the various prostate conditions affecting men today.
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and produces prostatic fluid that protects and nourishes sperm. It is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis, in front of the rectum. The prostate surrounds the urethra, which empties urine from the bladder.
According to the Men’s Health Resource Center, over 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions such as:
- Prostate cancer – the leading cancer for men in the U.S.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – enlarged prostate
- Prostatitis – inflammation usually caused by infection
You should see your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms, which could be related to a prostate issue:
- Frequent urge to urinate or frequent urination
- Dribbling of urine
- Loss of bladder control
- Discharge from the urethra
- Blood in urine or semen
- Painful urination or ejaculation
- Inability to urinate, or weak or interrupted urinary stream
- Straining to empty the bladder
- Urinary tract infectionFrequent pain or discomfort in the testicles, penis, pelvic area, rectal area, lower back, abdomen, hips, or upper thighs
The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. It can be detected using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE). The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men with an average risk of getting prostate cancer have a discussion with their physicians about screening for the disease when they are 50 years or older. For men at a higher risk, including African Americans and those with a family history of prostate cancer, the ACS recommends a screening discussion at age 40 or 45, depending on how many relatives have had early prostate cancer. But if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, do not wait until the recommended ages to discuss the issue with your physician.
It is common for the prostate to grow as you age. However, BPH occurs when the prostate grows to an unhealthy size, though having the condition does not increase the risk of prostate cancer. A man’s chances of having BPH increase with age, typically beginning at 40. Risk factors for the condition may include a family history, obesity, high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol (HDL), diabetes, lack of exercise, and erectile dysfunction. Men with BPH may experience obstructive symptoms, such as those relating to the inability to urinate properly, or symptoms relating to the bladder, such as urgency and frequency issues. Some symptoms may not need treatment, but your physician may make certain recommendations based on your age and overall health. According to the Men’s Health Resource Center, lifestyle changes, medication such as alpha-blockers, or surgery may alleviate the symptoms of BPH.
Prostatitis occurs when the prostate becomes inflamed, and there are 4 types of this condition:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis – caused by a bacteria infection; treated with antibiotics.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis – caused by a bacteria infection and may last for months; treated with antibiotics.
- Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) – the most common type; not caused by a bacteria infection, and exact cause is unknown; may last for months.
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis – not caused by a bacteria infection; causes no symptoms; usually detected when undergoing a blood test.
Acute prostatitis may present as the obstructive or bladder-related symptoms listed above, in conjunction with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, and body aches. It is best to start the antibiotics, when indicated, as soon as possible when you notice the symptoms.
If you feel that you are experiencing any of the symptoms described in this article, please consider making an appointment with us today to ensure your continued prostate health!
Please come back soon to check out our next Men's Health Month blog about exercise and aging! And take a look at our earlier Men's Health Month blog about cardiovascular disease.
The content provided in our website blogs is offered for informational purposes only, and it should not be considered as the practice of medicine or medical advice regarding the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition or disease. You should consult with a medical professional if you have any questions regarding a condition or disease in relation to your specific healthcare needs. If you feel that you are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact 911 immediately.