BPH, OR PROSTATE ENLARGEMENT, IS THE MOST FREQUENT PROSTATE CONDITION IN MEN OVER 50.

OVER 30 MILLION MEN SUFFER FROM PROSTATE CONDITIONS THAT NEGATIVELY AFFECT THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE. AND EVERY YEAR OVER 230,000 MEN WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH PROSTATE CANCER, AND ABOUT 30,000 WILL DIE OF IT.

WHAT IS THE PROSTATE?

Technically, the prostate is a part of your sex organs, producing fluid that contributes to the production of sperm. It’s a small gland, about the size of a walnut that surrounds your urethra, a tube that takes urine from the bladder to the penis. The urethra also carries semen during ejaculation.

The prostate gland grows quite a lot during puberty and then doesn’t change much until about age 40, when it slowly begins growing again and, in many men, continues to grow as they age. Half of men aren’t bothered by their growing prostate. But the others will develop one or more of three prostate diseases.

PROSTATITIS

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that may be caused by an infection. It’s the most common prostate problem for men under 50—so common that about half of adult men will be treated for it during their lifetime.

Bacterial prostatitis occurs in about 1 out of 10 men with prostatitis. Symptoms can come about quickly or slowly over time. These symptoms can include fever, aching muscles, pain in lower back, chills, fatigue, frequent and/or painful urination and a recurring urinary tract infection.

Nonbacterial prostatitis occurs in about 6 out of 10 men with prostatitis. Symptoms include occasional discomfort in the testicles, urethra, lower abdomen, and back; discharge from the urethra, especially during the first bowel movement of the day; blood or urine in ejaculate; low sperm count; sexual difficulties; and frequent urination.

Prostatodynia (pain in the area of the prostate gland) occurs in about 3 out of 10 men with prostate irritation. Unfortunately, tests used to diagnose infection and other problems affecting the prostate gland are not useful in detecting the cause of this pain. In some instances, the pain may be caused by a muscle spasm in the bladder or the urethra. Symptoms include pain and discomfort in the prostate gland, testicles, penis and urethra and may include difficulty urinating.

Prostatitis is not considered a serious disease, and it doesn’t lead to cancer. But it’s painful, extremely inconvenient and sometimes difficult to cure. There are many treatment options that usually provide relief, which include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and surgery.

BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA

BPH, sometimes called prostate enlargement, is one of the most common conditions among aging men, due to the gradual enlargement of the prostate gland which causes it to squeeze the urethra. Half of men between the ages of 50 and 60 will develop it, and by the age of 80, about 90 percent will have experienced BPH symptoms, which may include frequent, often urgent need to urinate, especially at night; need to strain or push to get the urine flowing; inability to completely empty the bladder; dribbling or leaking after urination; and weak urine stream. If left untreated, the condition can cause bladder infections and kidney stones, and in some cases, permanent bladder and/or kidney damage.

Because male urinary symptoms can also be caused by more serious conditions, such as prostate cancer, it’s important to see your doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms.

MHN Men’s Health NetworkTM

www.menshealthnetwork.org