Located just beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum, the prostate is a tiny gland in men that helps to make semen. It is a walnut-sized gland in young men which is wrapped around the tube carrying urine away from the bladder. The prostate grows larger with age, but when it becomes too large medical problems may arise. For men older than 50, the risk of having prostate related problems is quite high.
The most common prostate diseases are:
- Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate, often caused by bacteria.
- Enlarged prostate (BPH): Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a frequent problem in older men and is characterized by the frequent urge to urinate (especially at night) and dribbling after urination.
- Prostate cancer: A common cancer in men which responds well to early treatment.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
This is the most common prostate disease found in men older than 50. BPH occurs when the prostate gland has enlarged to the extent of squeezing the urethra and obstructing the flow of urine from the bladder. Benign prostatic enlargement only means the prostate has enlarged, but there is no cancer. It is treated using active surveillance or watchful waiting when symptoms are not severe, but medications or surgery may be needed in severe cases. Other treatments such as microwaves, radio waves and lasers also may be used.
Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) is frequent in men older than 50. There are three forms of prostatitis: acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis and chronic prostatitis. Acute bacterial prostatitis has sudden onset after a bacterial infection and is characterized by chills, fever and pain in addition to other prostate symptoms. A combination of antibiotics and pain medication may relieve the problem.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is a recurrent bacterial infection of the prostate. It can be relieved by taking certain medications for a long time, but you contact your doctor immediately when symptoms occur. Chronic prostatitis (also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome) is a common problem which causes pain in the groin, lower back and tip of the penis. It may be treated by a combination of medication, surgery and lifestyle changes.
It is the most frequent cancer diagnosed in American men, affecting almost 50 percent of men older than 70. An estimated 200,000 men are diagnosed with the cancer in the U.S. every year, but many men can live with it without problems as it causes few symptoms unless it has spread to other areas of the body. The risk of getting prostate cancer depends on age (men older than 50 are at higher risk), race (African-American men are at higher risk than Native-American), family history (you are at higher risk if your father or brother had it) and diet (more common in men who eat high-fat diets). It is highly curable when detected early. Prostate cancer is diagnosed using a digital rectal exam or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Treatment options include watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy and hormone therapy.
Symptoms of prostate disease
You should visit your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Painful or burning urination
- Need to urinate several times at night
- Painful ejaculation
- Dribbling of urine
- Blood in urine/semen
- Frequent stiffness or pain in lower back, pelvic area, hips, upper thighs or rectal area
At Advanced Urology Institute, we have experienced physicians and state-of-the-art facilities for diagnosis and treatment of prostate diseases. If you have any of the symptoms above, visit us for help. For more information, visit the site Advanced Urology Institute.