The prostate gland is a vital part of the male sexual anatomy.
The prostate is also a source of trouble for many men, some of whom will develop prostate cancer. An enlarged prostate is less serious than a malignant condition, but nevertheless affects a majority of men in their later years.
- Some men may find that BPH is merely bothersome and try to ignore the condition. However, the symptoms will often worsen over time and may eventually constitute a serious health problem.
- Additionally, the symptoms of what one believes is an enlarged prostate could indicate something more serious, even cancer, which is why men need to understand the condition, its affects and their treatment options.
Understanding the Prostate Gland
Located underneath the bladder, the gland has the important role of producing some of the fluid that carries the sperm cells produced by the testicles. Normally the size of a walnut, the gland generally enlarges with age in a condition that is medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. Prostate enlargement is common among men aged 50, affects more than half of them aged 60 and some 90 percent who reach 85 years. An enlarged prostate is not automatically cancerous, but even a benign condition can create problems when the growth begins to constrict the urethra, the natural tube that carries urine out of the body.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
The most common symptoms include difficulty in emptying the bladder of urine and continued dribbling after urination. This condition is accompanied by the frequent urge to urinate, especially at night. In more serious instances, one may experience a genital infection or may be totally unable to empty the bladder. Similar symptoms may result from such health conditions as prostatitis, or inflammation of the gland, and kidney stones.
Treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
In addition to aging, there are certain risk factors that make some men more susceptible to BPH, including diabetes and obesity. Identifying these factors is the first step in tackling the problem, which in some cases can be controlled through changes in one’s lifestyle. Exercise and dietary changes, including a reduction in the intake of caffeine and alcoholic products, may be sufficient in eliminating or alleviating the symptoms. Other men who suffer from BPH may find success with certain medications that can reduce the size and growth of the prostate or at least relax the gland and the adjacent bladder. Surgical options include the removal of portions of the prostate, which can be done with conventional instruments or with such high-tech equipment as laser lights. In cases where growth has been excessive, the entire gland may have to be surgically removed.