It’s your responsibility to get a regular prostate check. Your friends and family look to you to take care of your health and to stay healthy. After all, they rely on you for quite a few things! Here at the Men’s Vitality Center in Tucson, we take prostate health very seriously. Prostate care has come a long way in the past few years as medical knowledge continues to grow.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a very small gland, about the size of a walnut, that is part of a man’s reproductive system. It sits right below the bladder, and in front of the rectum. The prostate helps make semen, which transports sperm.
Have you been told that you may have an enlarged prostate?
As you age, your prostate can enlarge. By the time a man is 40, his prostate can enlarge from the size of a walnut to the size of an apricot. By the time he reaches the age of 60, it may have increased from the size of an apricot to the size of a lemon! Since the prostate surrounds part of the urethra, it can restrict the urethra and cause issues with urination. An enlarged prostate is often referred to as benign (noncancerous) prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. BPH is common, and is difficult to prevent. More than half of men over the age of 50 will develop BPH, while up to 90% of men older than 90 will develop the condition.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate
- Trouble initiating urination
- Having to urinate frequently, particularly at night
- Feeling that the bladder is not empty after urinating
- Feeling a sudden urge to urinate
- Having to stop and start repeatedly while urinating
- Having to strain to urinate
If you notice the above symptoms, you need to speak to your doctor at the Men’s Vitality Center immediately.
Types of treatments are available for an enlarged prostate
- Lifestyle changes–These changes could include less drinking at night and before bedtime, especially any drinks with alcohol in them.
- Watching and waiting–Patients who have an enlarged prostate, but do not suffer any of the symptoms, may be advised by their doctor to continue to get an annual checkup and keep a watchful eye on it.
- Drug therapy–Two common treatments for BPH are alpha-blockers and 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors. Alpha-blockers alleviate BPH symptoms, and 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors help shrink the prostate. Many men take them together.
- Surgery–Normally a last resort, surgery is used for men who have severe symptoms that have not been helped by other treatments.