The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is a vital part of the male reproduction system. It wraps around the tube used to expel urine from your bladder and gets larger as men age. When it becomes too large it can start causing the man health trouble. While an enlarged prostate is commonly associated with cancer, this is not always what is causing these symptoms to occur. Your doctor may notice prostate symptoms during your exam or you may feel as though you are developing symptoms of this condition. In either case it is important to determine what is causing your prostate problems so you can get adequate treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Problems
Watching for the symptoms of prostate issues is important to catching these problems early. If you notice that you have the following problems, you may be having trouble with your prostate.
- have a frequent urge to urinate
- tend to urinate frequently at night
- have dribbling of urine when using the bathroom
- your urinating is painful or burning
- you have trouble urinating
- your ejaculation is painful
- you have blood in the urine or semen
- frequent pain in the pelvic, rectal, thigh, hip or lower back
Common Prostate Problems and Treatments
1. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH, simply means that the prostate is enlarged. In this case, cancer is not causing the symptoms the man is experiencing. Enlarged prostates can cause dribbling when you urinate or can make it difficult to urinate. You may find yourself urinating constantly, particularly at night. Your doctor will perform an exam to help determine the best way to treat this condition. Following lists some advice and remedies for BPH:
- Watchful Waiting: In most cases your doctor will simply want to keep an eye on your enlarged prostate. If you do not have serious symptoms you may have you come in for routine checkups to make sure that the condition is remaining steady. If your symptoms become worse you can begin more advanced treatment.
- Medications: Medications can be used to prevent prostate problems by relaxing the muscles around the gland or shrink the prostate back to its normal size. These medications may have side effects that could be dangerous so it is important to discuss potential issues with your doctor before you begin treatment.
- Surgery: When other treatments are not successful your doctor may opt to perform a surgical procedure to relieve your symptoms. BPH surgery can be performed in a variety of ways. Your doctor will evaluate the best course of action based on your symptoms and the potential risks involved. Regular checkups will be necessary after surgery to ensure that all is well.
- Other Therapies: In some cases microwaves, radio waves or lasers are used to treat the symptoms of BPH. The lasers cause heat that reduces excessive prostate tissue.
2. Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
This condition is caused by a bacterial infection. You may notice pain, fever or chills and these symptoms will come on somewhat suddenly. It may hurt to urinate or there may be blood in the urine. If these symptoms appear it is important to seek medical assistance right away so you can get medication to ease your symptoms.
3. Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
This infection is reoccurring, an issue that is somewhat rare and a bit difficult to treat. Long-term antibiotics can be effective in some cases. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and determine the best way to treat your condition based on the nature of your problem.
4. Chronic Prostatitis
Your doctor may refer to chronic prostatic as Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome or CPPS. This is a somewhat common problem for men. Symptoms of this condition include pain in the groin, at the tip of the penis, or in the lower back. Men suffering from CPPS may have trouble ejaculating or find ejaculating painful. You may find yourself needing to urinate frequently, but when you go you are only able to pass a little bit of urine. You will need to alter your lifestyle, take a variety of medications and may need to undergo surgery to help manage this condition.
5. Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is among the most serious prostate problems. Those that are over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for developing the disease. African American men also have a higher risk of developing the disease. Prostate cancer tends to run in families, so if your family history contains several cases of the disease you may need to keep a close eye on your symptoms. Following a poor diet consisting of many high-fat foods without an adequate supply of fruits and vegetables can also increase your risk of prostate cancer.
If you begin to develop trouble urinating, pain in the hips, pelvis or back, have painful ejaculation, or blood in the semen or urine you may have developed prostate cancer. Your doctor will evaluate your medical and family history and perform a prostate exam to feel if there are lumpy or hard areas near the prostate. If necessary they will perform a prostate-specific antigen to determine if it is likely that you are suffering from prostate cancer. If it is determined that you have this prostate problem you will need to enter a treatment program right away to prevent complications.
- Watchful Waiting: If it does not appear that your cancer is causing problems or it is growing very slowly you may not need immediate treatment. You will need to visit your doctor regularly to determine how your condition is progressing.
- Surgery: In most cases your doctor will perform surgery to remove the prostate and any affected tissue nearby. You should talk to your doctor about potential risks that are associated with this surgery so you know what to expect.
- Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy is used to prevent the body from making excessive amounts of testosterone. This can help prevent the caner from reoccurring or spreading throughout the body.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation is used to kill the cancer cells or shrink the tumors. Your doctor will use an x-ray or radioactive seeds in or near the tumor to apply this therapy. This has side effects which can be severe, so it is important to work closely with your doctor to determine the best way to proceed.
Preventions for Prostate Problems
Schedule annual prostate exams to ensure that all is well.
- PSA Test: Men under the age of 75 should have an annual PSA test. This will help determine the levels of prostate-specific antigen in the body. Levels can be high due to the presence of cancer, infection or BPH. Your doctor will use these levels to determine if additional testing or treatment may be needed to address your symptoms.
- Diet: Consuming a diet that avoids saturated fat and replaces these items with fruits and vegetables can help you avoid prostate trouble. Drinking eight glasses of water each day, consuming a good diet and making a point of liming your alcohol intake can help you avoid prostate problems.
- Supplements and drugs: Saw palmetto berries are shown to reduce the symptoms of BPH. These alter the hormone levels, helping you avoid prostate enlargement. You can also take stinging nettle to avoid prostate problems. This supplement has been used in Europe to treat prostate problems for over a decade.
- Watermelon seeds: Watermelon seeds are frequently brewed into a tea that can help flush the system to eliminate toxins that can damage the prostate. Put 1/8 cup watermelon seeds in a pint of boiling water and brew a tea. Drink a pint each day for ten days to help relieve your symptoms.
- Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and have diuretic properties that can help boost your immune system. Eat them without the shells and without salt for best results. You can also boil the seeds to create a pumpkin seed tea that is quite effective.
- Corn silk: The Amish are known to take the silk from 6 ears of corn and boil it in a quart of water to treat prostate problems. Drinking three cups of this mixture each week can help you protect your prostate.