Problems with the prostate are a uniquely male problem.
The prostate is a gland located just under the bladder. It produces prostatic secretions. These secretions are mixed with sperm from the testis and together they make semen.
There are 3 common problems with the prostate:
- Prostate Inflammation & Infection
1. Inflammation/Infection (Prostatitis)
This is the commonest prostate problem in men under the age of 40.
The prostate becomes swollen. It can be caused by infections like STDs or other non-STD bacteria. It can also be caused by stress or injuries to the prostate (like riding a bike or sitting on a hard surface). Sometimes, we do not even know what the cause is.
If you have prostatitis, you might feel pain in the area behind the scrotum, a dragging or heaviness in the scrotum, pain or discomfort in the tip of the penis, pain during ejaculation and maybe even a fever.
To treat this, first, we need to find out if there is an infection or not. We will need to do urine tests and maybe even tests on the semen.
Infections are treated with antibiotics. Since the blood supply to the prostate is low, the amount of medicine delivered to the prostate is also low. This is why antibiotic treatment for prostatitis has to be for at least 1 month to cure the problem.
If the prostatitis is not due to an infection, you can be treated with anti-inflammatories, prostatic massages and maybe even medicines used to treat epilepsy. The way these medicines work is they stabilize the membranes of the nerves going to the prostate.
2. Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – BPH)
The prostate will get bigger as we get older. This is unavoidable.
The prostate will eventually enlarge to a size big enough to affect the urine flow. How do you know when this has happened?
Try to answer these questions:
- When you finish urinating does your urine continue to dribble?
- Do you feel the need to urinate frequently?
- Is your urine stream weak or may even start and stop?
- Do you get sudden strong urges to urinate?
- Do you have difficulty getting the urine to start flowing?
- Do you need to wake up 2 or more times at night to urinate?
- Do your urinary issues affect your life in a bad way?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the 2 questions above, you likely have an enlarged prostate.
Most enlarged prostate problems these days are treated with medication.
Surgery can be performed but only for select cases.
These urinary symptoms can also cause Erection Problems. So if you suffer from Erection difficulties and have any of the above symptoms, please let us know.
Cancer of the prostate is extra common in older men.
Fortunately, cancer of the prostate is a very slow-growing cancer. So most men die with prostate cancer and not of prostate cancer.
Screening for prostate cancer should start at the age of 50. The common screening tools available to us are the PSA blood test and digital rectal examination (i.e. the doctor feeling the prostate by putting a finger into your rectum.)
More advanced tests include ultrasounds and MRI.
Prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms until it has spread. So Prostate cancer screening is very important to catch it at an early stage. This is because when detected at an early stage, prostate cancer can relatively easily be treated.
However, treatment for prostate cancer usually results in Erection problems. In order to get your erection back, you need to undergo a treatment called ‘penile rehabilitation‘. Look out for our next article on this!
Suspect something wrong with your prostate or just need a screening?