The prostate is a gland located under the bladder which in young men is about the size of a lemon or golf ball. It is common for it to grow larger as a man ages. Normally this poses no problem, but for some it can lead to discomfort and infection.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Symptoms of this disorder tend to increase as you age. They may include:
- Difficulty initiating urine flow;
- A weak, interrupted stream;
- An urge to urinate frequently, often at night;
- A feeling, even after urinating, that the bladder is not empty.
What to do about it depends on its severity. Mild symptoms of this sort are normal, and can be dealt with in the following ways:
- Drink plenty of fluids during the day, but cut back at night.
- Don’t delay urinating if you feel the urge, and take as much time as you need.
- Find out if any medications you are taking exacerbate the problem, and cut back on or eliminate them.
If the prostate becomes inflamed it can lead to infection. Apart from the above signs, further symptoms might include:
- A burning sensation when you urinate;
- Feeling pain in the lower abdomen and pubic area;
- Sudden fever and chills;
- Red or pink urine;
- Pain when you ejaculate.
If you notice any of these symptoms you should contact your doctor. Medical treatment such as prescription drugs or even surgery may be required.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. It occurs much more frequently in older men. Symptoms may be similar to those in benign prostatic hyperplasia, or there may be no symptoms. In the past regular testing was recommended, but now there is controversy about its efficacy. If prostate cancer is suspected a biopsy is performed to confirm it.
The following are recommended as ways to reduce the risk of prostate cancer:
- Ejaculate frequently.
- Maintain a normal weight, and follow a healthy diet with meat, fish and vegetables.
- Keep your alcohol intake moderate.
Prostate cancer is most often treated by doing nothing at all except keeping careful watch, because it is so slow-growing. However, if it becomes aggressive there are the options of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Men, if you develop a mild prostate condition there’s most likely nothing to worry about; a simple adjustment of habits will often take care of it. However, if it becomes more serious you may have to see a doctor.