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Medical Urology Issues

Prostatitis

Prostatitis is the inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. The prostate gland, which is only in men, is located below the bladder and is instrumental in semen production. Prostatitis may be caused by a bacterial infection, or the cause may not be known. Symptoms include:

▪    Difficulty urinating or burning pain when urinating
▪    Pain in groin, back, or abdomen
▪    Pain in the groin area, including the scrotum, penis or testicles
▪    Flu-like symptoms
▪    Painful orgasms

Treatment may include antibiotics, alpha blockers or pain relievers.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is also called benign prostatic hypertrophy. It’s when the prostate gland becomes very large and may cause problems passing urine. BPH is not cancer, and is a common part of aging.

The prostate gland is found only in males. It’s located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. It wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate’s job is to make some of the fluid that protects and nourishes sperm cells in semen. This makes the semen more liquid.

BPH can raise PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels. PSA is made by the prostate and can be measured with a blood test. An increased PSA level does not mean you have cancer, but the higher the PSA level, the higher the chance of having cancer.

Some of the symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer are the same, but BPH is not cancer and does not develop into prostate cancer.

What causes BPH?

The cause of BPH is not known. The prostate goes through 2 main periods of growth. In early puberty, it doubles in size. Then, around age 25, the prostate starts to grow again and continues to grow throughout most of a man’s life.

The continuing growth of the prostate may not cause problems until much later in life, when the second period of growth may result in BPH. It is a common problem for men starting in their 60s, and it is more likely for men in their 70s and 80s to have some symptoms of BPH.

What are the symptoms of BPH?

As the prostate grows, it presses against the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. This interferes with urination. At the same time, the bladder wall becomes thicker and irritated, and begins to contract, even when it contains only small amounts of urine. This can cause more frequent urination. These changes cause the bladder muscle to weaken. It may not empty fully and leave some urine behind. This leads to symptoms.

Prostate Cancer

While prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, if detected early, it can often be treated successfully. According to the American Cancer Society, one man in 36 will die of prostate cancer, while one man in 6 will get prostate cancer. The prostate gland, which is only found in men, is located below the bladder. The prostate’s main function is to produce a fluid that protects sperm.

There are more than two million American men who are prostate cancer survivors. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age; two out of every three prostate cancers are found in those over 65.

Other risk factors for prostate cancer include:

▪    Ethnicity: Not only is prostate cancer more common in African-American men, but they are also more likely to die of the disease.
▪    Family history: Genetics play a role in prostate cancer risk, and prostate cancer seems to run in families.
▪    Obesity: Being overweight is linked with a greater risk of prostate cancer.
▪    Smoking
▪    Infection and inflammation of the prostate.
▪    Diet: While studies are not conclusive, men who eat a lot of high-fat diary products and red meat seem to have a greater risk of prostate cancer.
▪    Nationality: Prostate cancer is less common in Asia, Central and South America. While the reasons behind this are not clear, prostate cancer is most common in North America and northwestern Europe.

Early detection is vital, but prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms until its later stages, when it is more difficult to treat. This is why many doctors recommend a yearly prostate exam and cancer screening, which involves a blood test to determine the PSA (prostate-specific antigen test) level and a digital rectal exam. However, prostate cancer is usually slow-growing and is often confined to the prostate gland. Speak to your doctor about your family history, risk factors, and if a yearly prostate exam is recommended. Advanced prostate cancer may cause the following symptoms:

▪    Blood in urine or semen
▪    Bone pain
▪    Difficulty urinating or maintaining a urine stream
▪    Bone pain
▪    Leg swelling

Treatment for prostate cancer may include radiation therapy, prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland), chemotherapy, cryosurgery (freezing the prostate tissue), or, if the cancer is growing slowly, immediate treatment may not be necessary. However, it is vital to speak with your doctor to determine which treatment plan is right for you.

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~ T.J. Fusia, MD - Medical Director ME71010

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