The prostate gland sits just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, partially surrounding the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of the body. It is responsible for the production of a clear liquid which makes up part of the seminal fluid used to carry and protect the male sperm during intercourse.
As you grow older, the prostate grows larger and this can lead to health issues. However, having a prostate problem does not necessarily raise your chance of contracting prostate cancer.
For men under 50, the main problem is likely to be a form of Prostatitis, where the prostate may be inflamed or irritated, resulting in frequency or a burning sensation when you urinate.
This can often be a bacterial infection which comes on suddenly and gives you a fever, chills or lower back pain. See your doctor as soon as possible so he can run a test and prescribe antibiotics.
In certain cases, this can become a chronic infection with the bacteria returning regularly. This is also known as Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS). Occurring mostly in young to middle-aged men, it causes pain in the lower back, between the legs, or at the entrance to the urethra, resulting in painful ejaculation and the need to urinate frequently. Sometimes antibiotics can help, but the condition is very hard to treat. Some people believe that it may be triggered by a Candida infection elsewhere in the body and that antibiotics are actually doing more harm than good.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, an enlargement of the prostate (also known as BPH), is the most common problem for men over 50. This is a growth of non-cancerous cells within the transition section of the prostate gland. Because it is enlarged, it squeezes the urethra causing a variety of urination-related symptoms.
You may feel that you have to keep getting up in the night to urinate, or you may have trouble going at all – despite the fact that you had to hurry to the toilet. There are a variety of symptoms: a weak flow of urine or only a small amount being produced each time you go, or the sensation that you still need to go – although you’ve only just been, or post-wee dribbling/leaking. In some cases, a little blood may be present in the urine. You should contact a doctor immediately should you be unable to urinate at all.
It is very important that you do not ignore these symptoms or self-diagnose. A doctor will need to check the size and condition of the prostate by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum.
Despite the fact that this is an exploration which men fear, it is imperative to obtain the correct diagnosis as prostate cancer is rarely fatal if caught early enough.
A blood test will be ordered to check for prostate-specific antigens (PSA). If these are high, it may be a sign of prostate cancer, but the test is not perfect so many men with a high reading do not necessarily have prostate cancer.
To get a proper view of your prostate, the doctor may order a pyleogram. Dye will be injected into a vein, which will show up on the x-ray of your urinary tract when it passes from your blood into your urine.
Alternatively, a rectal sonogram will utilise a probe inserted into the rectum to bounce sound waves off your prostate.
A cystoscopy can also assess the condition of the prostate internally. This uses a cystoscope, which is a thin microscope inserted into the bladder via the urethra.
If your symptoms don’t bother you too much, you may choose to watch and wait rather than take pills every day or have surgery. But you should have regular checkups to make sure your condition isn’t getting worse.
These may include medications to relax the muscles near the prostate to ease the symptoms and help shrink it, various non-surgical techniques, where small parts of the prostate can be removed via the urethra with, microwaves or lasers, or one of the many types of actual surgery to correct the problem.
Although instances of prostate cancer are fairly common, the disease does not often cause death. Treatments are most effective when the disease is in its early stages and has not had a chance to spread elsewhere. If you become aware of any of the symptoms mentioned above, visit your doctor so that he can rule out cancer as the more advanced symptoms of tiredness, pain in the back, hips and thighs arrive when the cancer has spread and gone beyond the state at which it can be cured.
Avoiding high-fat food and having a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is key to preventing prostate cancer.
Whether you’re looking to avoid prostate problems or restore urinary control post-procedure, increasing the circulation and blood supply to the area with Kegel and pelvic floor exercises helps to keep the gland itself, as well as the surrounding tissues, healthy.
Used in conjunction with neuromuscular stimulators, many of which come with an anal probe and are pre-set with programmes specifically aimed at improving/restoring the tone of the muscles that control urination, Kegel and pelvic floor exercises can prove extremely beneficial.
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