Men’s Health: Prostate Issues

Prostate issues are fairly common around men.

The prostate is a gland located just underneath the bladder and produces prostatic secretions. These secretions are mixed with sperm from the testes and combined, they create semen.

There are 3 common problems associated with the prostate:

  • Inflammation & infection
  • Enlargement
  • Cancer

Inflammation/infection (Prostatitis)

Prostatitis is most common among men under 40 years old. It can potentially occur from infections contracted from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or non-STD bacteria as well as stress or injury to the prostate (such as from riding a bike or sitting on hard surfaces). Cases of Prostatitis can also occur without any cause at all.

Symptoms of prostatitis include:

  • Pain behind the base of the scrotum
  • Dragging sensation or heaviness in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort at the tip of the penis
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • In rarer cases, fever

For a diagnosis to be accurate, we must first determine if there is an infection or not, followed by urine tests and to a certain extent, tests on the semen.

Prostatitis caused by infection can be treated with antibiotics. As the blood supply to the prostate is low, successful treatment of the condition tends to take up to 1 month to fully cure the problem.

If the prostatitis is not caused by an infection, it can then be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine, prostatic massages, and in certain cases, medicine used to treat epilepsy. These treatments work due to the stabilising effect of the nerves’ membranes leading to the prostate itself.

Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – BPH)

As we get older, the prostate also grows bigger, sometimes big enough that it can obstruct the flow of urine.

There are several ways to determine this:

  • Urine continues to drip after you have finished urinating
  • There is a constant need to urinate frequently
  • Your urine stream is weak and is not continuous
  • You have stronger than usual urge to urinate
  • You have difficulty ensuring your urine flows consistently
  • You wake up more than 2 times to urinate
  • Constant urination is negatively impacting your life

If you have experienced at least 2 of the following situations, you may be at risk of an enlarged prostate. These symptoms can also be responsible for erection problems.

However, an enlarged prostate is highly curable with proper medication, and only in extreme cases would a surgery be required to reduce its size.

Cancer

Prostate cancer is especially common amongst older men. However, it is very easy to catch early and treat it almost instantaneously.

It is advised to begin screening for prostate cancer at the age of 50. Common screening tools include the PSA blood test and physical rectal examination, while more advanced tests utilise ultrasound or an MRI.

Prostate cancer is asymptomatic until it has spread throughout the body. Hence, screening is incredibly important to catch it at an early stage for quick and effective treatment.

However, treatment for prostate cancer may result in erection problems. It is advisable that patients who have undergone treatment also go for ‘penile rehabilitation’ to eliminate any potential erection problems in the future.

Watch out for the next article as we discuss this in a more in-depth manner!

Tags: mens health

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