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Prostate (BPH)

The prostate, located beneath the bladder and anterior to the rectum in males and individual males, comprises both connective and glandular tissues. Its primary function involves contributing fluid to semen, while its muscular activity aids in propelling semen through the urethra. Disorders affecting the prostate encompass cancer, prostatitis, and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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What is the role of the prostate in men?

The prostate plays a vital role in the male reproductive system by secreting fluid that contributes to semen, the ejaculatory substance. This fluid, which is whitish-gray in color, contains enzymes, zinc, and citric acid, nourishing sperm cells and providing lubrication to the urethra, the tube responsible for the passage of both ejaculate and urine out of the body.

Furthermore, the muscles of the prostate assist in the propulsion of semen into and through the urethra during ejaculation.

Conditions and Disorders

What are the typical conditions and disorders affecting the prostate?
Frequent prostate conditions encompass:

1. Prostate cancer: Ranked as the second most prevalent cancer among men and individual males.
2. Inflammation (prostatitis): This includes acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Prostatitis stands as the most common urinary tract issue in men and individual males under 50, and the third most common in those over 50.
3. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): BPH prompts prostate enlargement, potentially leading to urethral blockages. Nearly all men and individual males experience some degree of prostate enlargement with age.


What symptoms indicate prostate issues?
Signs of prostate problems commonly include:

- Pain in the penis, testicles, or perineum (the area between the testicles and rectum).
- Frequent urges to urinate.
- Pain during urination (dysuria) or ejaculation.
- Slow or dribbling urine stream.
- Difficulty initiating urination.
- Frequent nocturnal urination.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Presence of blood in urine or semen (hematospermia).
- Pain in the lower back, hip, or pelvis.


What are typical tests to assess prostate health?
Routine evaluations for prostate health comprise:

1. Digital rectal examination (DRE): A healthcare expert inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to palpate the prostate gland. The presence of abnormalities such as lumps or firm areas might suggest cancer.

2. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test: The prostate produces a protein known as prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Elevated PSA levels in the blood may indicate the presence of cancer. However, it's important to note that PSA levels can also increase due to conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostatitis.

3. Biopsy: In this procedure, a healthcare expert employs a needle to extract a sample of prostate tissue. Subsequently, the tissue sample undergoes examination under a microscope in a laboratory to detect any abnormal cellular changes.

What are the treatments for prostate issues?

Treatment for prostate conditions varies based on the specific diagnosis.

For Prostate Cancer:

  • Active surveillance involves regular screenings, scans, and biopsies every one to three years to monitor cancer progression.

  • Brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation therapy, entails placing radioactive seeds within the prostate to target cancer cells while preserving healthy tissue.

  • Focal therapy aims to treat only the cancerous region of the prostate. Options include high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), cryotherapy, laser ablation, and photodynamic therapy (PDT).

  • Prostatectomy involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland.

For Prostatitis:

Our Urologist may suggest the following depending on the cause and type of your prostatitis:

  • Medications: Certain medications can ease muscle tension around the prostate and bladder, improving urine flow. Antibiotics are prescribed to eliminate bacteria causing the infection.

  • Stress Management: Counseling aimed at addressing anxiety and depression can alleviate symptoms.

  • Exercises: Pelvic floor exercises are beneficial for reducing or eliminating muscle spasms.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

  • Medications: Certain medications can inhibit the production of hormones responsible for prostate enlargement.

  • Surgery: Surgical intervention can remove obstructive prostate tissue, restoring normal urine flow.

  • Water Vapor Therapy: This procedure involves the insertion of a specialized instrument through the urethra to emit steam vapor, effectively shrinking the prostate by eliminating prostate cells.

Care

What are some ways to maintain prostate health?

Consider the following:

1. Undergoing regular prostate screenings, typically beginning at age 50. If there's a family history of prostate cancer, consider starting screenings earlier.
2. Engaging in regular exercise, as physical activity correlates with lower chances of developing BPH.
3. Adopting a nutritious diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy protein, which supports prostate health.
4. Quitting tobacco products, as they can heighten the risk of prostate cancer.

A Message from NU Urology and Andrology Clinics

Your prostate resembles a tiny walnut and resides below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Its main duties include producing fluids for semen and propelling semen through the urethra during ejaculation. It's typical for the prostate to enlarge with age. Prostate cancer ranks as the second most prevalent cancer among individuals assigned male at birth. Regular prostate screenings are advisable after reaching 50. Should you observe any symptoms suggestive of prostate issues, consult our Urologist.

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