The prostate is a small gland in men, about the size and shape of a walnut. It is located below the bladder and surrounds part of the urethra.
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and helps make semen.
The three most common prostate problems are:
- Infection (prostatitis)
- Enlarged prostate (BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia)
- Prostate cancer
Prostatitis is an inflammation or infection of the prostate. Prostatitis is not contagious and does not spread through sexual contact.
Symptoms of prostatitis include:
- Dysuria (pain or burning when passing urine)
- Strong, frequent urge to pass urine , even when there small amount of urine
- Chills and high fever
- Low back pain or body aches
- Pain low in the belly, groin, or behind the scrotum
- Rectal pressure or pain
- Urethral discharge with bowel movements
- Genital and rectal throbbing
- Sexual problems and loss of sex drive
- Blocked urine
- Painful ejaculation
Treatment of prostatitis include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and alpha blockers.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
BPH means that means that the prostate becomes enlarged. BPH is not linked to cancer and does not raise the chances of getting prostate cancer, yet the symptoms for BPH and prostate cancer can be similar. BPH symptoms usually start after the age of 50.
BPH symptoms include:
- Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble
- Passing urine often, especially at night
- Feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied
- A strong or sudden urge to pass urine
- Weak or slow urine stream
- Stopping and starting again several times while passing urine
- Pushing or straining to begin passing urine
At its worst, BPH can lead to:
- A weak bladder
- Backflow of urine causing bladder or kidney infections
- Complete block in the flow of urine
- Kidney failure
Early BPH symptoms take many years to turn into bothersome problems.
There are three ways to manage BPH:
- Watchful waiting (regular follow-up with the doctor)
- Drug therapy
- Surgery: endoscopic or open