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Prostate Problems and What They Mean

Aug 18, 2007
There are two broad categories of prostate problems that all men need to be aware of; Benign prostate hyperplasia, which is an enlargement of the prostate that occurs with age or because of the effects of prostatitis, and prostate cancer. Although younger men can be affected by such problems, prostate issues for the majority of men do not appear until the age of 50 and older.

In men the prostate is a walnut sized gland that encircles the neck of the bladder and urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate is an exocrine gland with the main function of producing fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. It also helps to control the flow of urine as it passes from the bladder to the penis.

As men age they become more susceptible to prostate problems. The first is benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement of the prostate. BPH is so common that some physicians consider it a normal consequence of aging in males. It results in the enlargement of the prostate, with it alternately pressing up against the urethra and bladder. BPH can also leads to sexual dysfunction; however modern medicine is still unable to understand why. BPH will affect an astonishing 50% of men during their lifetimes but rarely causes symptoms before age 40, with more than half of men in their sixties and as many as 90 percent in their seventies and eighties encountering some of its symptoms. BPH is the most common non-cancerous prostate problem.

Symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia can include difficulty urinating, waking up several times a night to urinate, frequent urination, inability to empty the bladder, uncontrolled dribbling, painful urination, and painful ejaculation.

Prostatitis, which is an inflammation or infection of the prostate, can affect any adult male but is most common in men, aged 20 to 50. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection that has spread from another part of the body and is typically treated with antibiotics to fight the infection. Prostatitis can cause difficulty urinating, pain, fever, and blood in the urine.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer experienced by men and is the most common cancer in men over 50. The risk of its occurrence increases with age; about 70 percent of all cases of the disease are diagnosed in men age 65 and older. The symptoms of prostate cancer are similar to other prostate problems, particularly difficulty in passing urine, but other symptoms include lower back pain, pain in the hips or pelvis and erection problems. Every year prostate cancer kills thousands of men despite the fact that it can be effectively treated if caught in its early stages.

Even though prostate problems can be embarrassing for some men it is important to see a doctor at the first signs of any symptoms. Regular doctor's visits are also important particularly upon reaching the age of 40. More often then not any problem with the prostate is nothing to worry about and can be treated quickly and easily, but the risks of not getting frequent checkups is clearly not worth what could happen.
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