A man’s prostate is a gland that surrounds the top of the urethra. The purpose of the prostate is to produce a milky fluid that nourishes the sperm and is discharged along with the sperm into the urethra at the time that the semen is emitted. Only males have a prostate. There are three conditions that can affect the prostate including prostate enlargement, prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate gland and also cancer of the prostate.
Both prostate enlargement and prostate cancer typically affect males over the age of 50. Prostate enlargement affects approximately half of men over age 50. Prostatitis can occur at any age. Prostate disease can refer to any of these three conditions.
Common symptoms that a male may have prostate disease are difficulty passing urine, painful ejaculation, and frequent urination.
Specifically symptoms of prostate enlargement include a urinary flow that is weak or slow, difficulty passing urine, having to urinate more than ten times a day, sudden uncontrollable need to urinate, having a difficult time starting to pass urine, waking up in the middle of the night to urinate, not being able to completely stop the flow of urine in mid-stream and also incomplete emptying of the bladder and painful passing of urine or a burning sensation upon passing urine.
Symptoms specific to prostatitis include painful or burning when the male urinates, severe pain behind the scrotum or around the anus, inner thighs or the back. He may also have blood in the urine, a fever, and may notice a discharge from the penis and also pain upon ejaculation. If the cause of the prostatitis is an infection the man may also have symptoms consistent with the type of infection he has.
The symptoms for prostate cancer are very similar to the symptoms for prostate enlargement.
There are many treatment options for prostate disease including medication, lifestyle changes and if nothing else helps, surgery.
Treatment for prostate enlargement varies depending on how serious the enlargement is. If the symptoms are mild than sometimes all that is needed is some changes to lifestyle such as avoiding alcohol, avoiding drinks that contain high levels of caffeine, avoiding drinking in the late evening, increasing the amount of fruit and fiber in the diet which will help to avoid constipation, which in turn puts pressure on the bladder, avoid overuseage of decongestants and anti-histamines which can have a negative affect on the muscles of the bladder.
Medications your doctor may prescribe for prostate disease include alpha-blockers that are used to reduce muscle tone in the lower bladder and prostate, which makes it easier to pass urine. Finasteride may be prescribed to reduce the size of the prostate and make it easier to pass urine through the urethra.
As a last resort surgery can be done to remove part of, or the entire prostate (prostatectomy). A surgery called, “transurethral resection of prostate (TURP) is commonly performed to treat prostate disease.