The prostate gland is a small organ found in the male. It is located below the bladder, just in front of the rectum. It also wraps itself around the male urethra as it exits from the bladder down into the penis. Even though it is situated deep into the male pelvis, it can be felt if a finger is inserted into the rectum. The prostate is an important male reproductive organ and helps in fine-tuning the quality of the semen. It contributes about 30 percent of the seminal fluid and it also plays a role in hormone production and helps regulate urine flow. The prostate tends to get larger as a man grows older. This enlargement tends to start at around age 40. It enlarges at different rates in different individuals.
What are the types of prostate problems?
The three most common prostate problems are inflammation (prostatitis), enlarged prostate (BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia), and prostate cancer.
What are the first signs of prostate problems?
The first signs of prostate problems depend on the cause of the problem.
The commonest prostate problem in the ageing man is due to enlargement of the prostate. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This means the enlargement of the prostate which is not due to cancer. About 8%, 50%, and 80% of men in the 4th, 6th, and 9th decades of life respectively have this condition.
According to the national cancer institute, the early complaints of prostate issues due to BPH are problems with urinating such as:
• Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble
• Passing urine often, especially at night
• Feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied
• A strong or sudden urge to pass urine
• Weak or slow urine stream
• Stopping and starting again several times while passing urine
• Pushing or straining to begin passing urine
Later symptoms are a weak bladder, back-flow of urine causing bladder or kidney infections, complete block in the flow of urine and kidney failure.
Make sure to inform your doctor or go for a check if you notice the early symptoms of listed above to avoid the later complications.
Prostate problems can also be due to cancer. This means that cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate. This cancer tends to grow slowly compared with most other cancers. Cell changes may begin 10, 20, or even 30 years before a tumour gets big enough to cause symptoms. By the time they cause symptoms, these cancer cells most likely have spread
Research states that by age the age of 50, very few men have symptoms of prostate cancer. More than half of all American men have some cancer in their prostate glands by the age of 80. Most of these cancers never pose a problem. They may never cause symptoms or become a serious threat to health.
The symptoms or complaints are:
• Trouble passing urine
• Frequent urge to pass urine, especially at night
• Weak or interrupted urine stream
• Pain or burning when passing urine
• Blood in the urine or semen
• Painful ejaculation
• Nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
These complaints overlap with that of BPH so it is important to always get yourself checked out by a doctor when you feel any of the above symptoms.
The other set of prostate complaints are due to inflammation of the prostate and occur more in younger men. They often occur as part of the symptoms of sexually transmitted infections especially bacterial and include: trouble passing urine, a burning or stinging feeling or pain when passing urine, strong, frequent urge to pass urine, chills and high fever, low back pain or body aches, pain low in the belly, groin, or behind the scrotum, rectal pressure or pain, urethral discharge with bowel movements, genital and rectal throbbing, loss of sex drive, and a painful ejaculation.
The discharge from the urethra and sexual problems are often the differentiating factors of prostate problems due to inflammation or an enlarged prostate.
No matter the cause of the prostate problems, make sure you get yourself checked at the earliest sign of any of the above mentioned symptoms.