Is Your Prostate Healthy?
The prostate gland is present near the bladder around the male urethra and is a part of the male reproductive system. While it is generally the size of a walnut, it may grow in size as the age increases.
The prostate gland is located deep inside the groin, between the base of the penis and the rectum. It is vital for reproduction because it supplies the seminal fluid, which mixes with sperm from the testes. Many times, the prostate gland can also show indications of enlargement, which is not a good sign.
Some signals that you should not ignore:
- Burning or pain during urination
- Difficulty urinating, or trouble starting and stopping while urinating
- Frequent urges to urinate
- Loss of bladder control
- Decreased urine stream
- Blood in urine
- Blood in semen
- Erectile dysfunction
- Painful ejaculation
Mentioned below are some of the prostate issues that men face:
Chronic prostatitis: It is the most common problem that men face. With this, there is acute pain in the groin area, in the tip of the penis, which results in painful ejaculation, and some lower back pains. Surgery and changes in lifestyle can treat the problem.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Very prevalent in older men, the prostate is enlarged but not cancerous. Because of the enlargement, the signs, as mentioned above, may be seen, which will be challenging to put up with. It’s best to see the doctor who may suggest a variety of treatment options based on the age & physical health of the patient and stage of the disease.
Some medicines can shrink the enlargement or give relief to the symptoms. The next option is opting for a surgery to remove the extra tissue. However, one has to be sure of the side effects that the surgical procedure can cause.
Finally, one can also explore options of treatments via laser or radio waves which will solve both the prostate and the urinary problem associated with it.
BPH produces symptoms by obstructing the flow of urine through the urethra. Symptoms related to BPH are present in about one in four men by age 55, and in half of 75-year-old men.
Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis: It’s a bacterial infection that results in the passing of blood with the urine. If one has contracted this, it will lead to severe pain and fever with chills. Remembering these symptoms, one should be quick to take action and get it treated.
Determining Prostate Cancer
A rectal examination determines the type of prostate infection suffered and outline in detail the reason for the prostate enlargement. In case of a bacterial infection, the culture is sent to test for cancer. Also, the doctor will be conducting a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels where it is on a high for men with enlarged glands or men suffering from prostate cancer.
The Next Step
Once the body has tested positive for prostate cancer, the course of treatment follows. The main deciding factor for the extent of the impact of the disease is its spread in the body, the age and the health condition of the person.
1. Wait and watch: The doctors advise to wait and watch the symptoms when the cancer is growing at a slow pace. Most experts recommend that it’s best to leave the impacted area untouched (without surgical intervention) so that cancer cells do not spread to other areas. The slow growth of cancer cells does not have serious health implications very soon. However, one has to monitor the health condition at periodic intervals.
2. Operating on the prostate gland: The surgery involves removing the entire prostate gland along with some tissues from the area outside.
3. Radiation Therapy: The radiation is done to terminate cancer cells and reduce the size of the tumours.
4. Hormone Therapy: In this basically, the body is made to work towards stopping the production of testosterone to arrest cancer cells from spreading to other body parts from the prostate.
There are many reasons why a man’s prostate is enlarged–the presence of cancer is only one. So, even if your doctor finds something unusual, it may not mean that you have prostate cancer. The next steps could include repeating the tests, performing an ultrasound exam of your prostate, or taking a biopsy of the prostate gland.
This article was first published in the print version of SUBURB August 2019 issue.