Men and Prostate Problems

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Prostate gland enlargement can cause flows of urine to be affected compared with normal prostate, while prostate cancer on the other hand must be completely removed.

Prostate is a gland situated at the base of men’s urine bladder and surround the urine tract which also known as urethra.

It size is as big as a walnut and its function is to produce alkaline liquid for semen.

Like other glands, several complications and diseases can rise in prostate gland. The main problem and disease are Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, BPH (prostate gland enlargement) and prostate cancer.

Prostate Gland Enlargement

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH is prostate gland enlargement which is caused by testosterone hormone stimulation.

This prostate size increase can be seen among men age 40 years old and above. According to statistic, more than 50 percent of men at the age 40 years old stage face this problem and the percentage increases to 75 percents among them who age 80 and above.

The size of prostate gland which is bigger than normal will cause urinary tract which flows through the gland becomes narrow.

The consequence is, those who have this problem will experience difficulties when urinating.

Among signs cause by BPH includes poor stream of urine, frequent to urinate, incomplete emptying of urine and dribbling urine from penis after urination (terminal dribbling).

Apart from that, patient also will experience nocturia, i.e. need to wake up at night to urinate.

If untreated, uncontrolled prostate gland enlargement will cause blockage of urine tract and the patient cannot urinate normally.

Beside that, high pressure inside the urine bladder can cause the risk of kidney swelling and failure (renal failure).

Bladder stone formation can also happen inside the urine bladder because of the problem. Because the patient needs to force to urinate, he also is in the risk of getting hernia.

Beside health problems, patients also may face various social problems since they frequently need to go to toilet to urinate.

Since the patient sometimes needs to go to toilet such frequently, such as once in an hour, this will affect his social activities such as traveling, watching movies or driving to far places.

The need to wake at night to urinate also affects sleep of a patient and causes him to be tired at daytime because sleep deprivation. There are patients who need to wake up six to seven times at night.

Confirmation and Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

BPH confirmation needs the history of patient and signs on the patient will be use to categorize it either it is a serious condition or not in accordance to International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS).

IPSS level of eight to nine needs treatment. If a person’s IPSS level is 20 to 35, his condition is categorized as serious.

Physical examination includes examination through anus to confirm that the prostate gland has enlarged.

At urology center, uroflowmeter, a device that can measure either the urine flow is weak or else is also available.

Blood test also need to be done to determine the kidney functionality (renal profile) also to screen prostate cancer antigen (PSA- Prostate Specific Antigen).

Treatments for BPH can be in the form of taking medications or surgery. The drugs used are of alpha-2-blocker type which plays role in reducing the prostate gland size.

Beside that, 5-alpha reductase type medication can hinder the prostate gland enlargement by reducing the testosterone hormone production.

Compared to alpha-2-blocker which gives almost immediate effect, 5-alpha reductase type medication will only give effect after around one month, but its effect is also longer.

Most BPH cases can be treated by medications. Surgery is needed if signs are uncontrollable anymore by medications or if there are other complications such as bladder stones.

The common surgery done is transurethral resection of prostate (TURP) which is where the prostate region that causes the urine tract to become narrow is operated to re-enable good urine flows.

This surgery is done by endoscopy where endoscope (a special scope) is inserted into the urine tract and enables prostate gland to be operated by just using endoscope alone.

Complications that may happen because of this surgery are including bleeding, retrograde ejaculation (ejaculation of semen problem) also erectile dysfunction.

Newer treatments include use of microwave energy to destroy prostate tissues (transurethral microwave thermotherapy).

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer happens when prostate cells undergo mutation and increase uncontrollably. Risk of acquiring prostate cancer also increases when age is more than 45 years old.

The average age at time it is first diagnosed is at 70 years old. In the United State, it often occurs among men of African descendant.

Among famous people who were dead because of prostate cancer includes former president of France, Francois Mitterand, president of Zaire, Mobuto and actor Bill Bixby.

At early stage, prostate cancer did not cause any obvious signs as BPH.

Usually it is detected by PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening test. When the size of prostate increases, it will causes signs similar to BPH such as hard to urinate, weak flow of urine, frequent urination and nocturia.

Apart from that, it may have blood which comes out with patient’s urine. At that time, prostate cancer can be detected by anus examination because it hard and rough seeds-like structural features.

At early stage, cells of prostate cancer can spread through blood flow to other organs such as bones, especially thigh bone, also to the lung.

A patient can experience pain at bone and also breathing difficulties. If the backbone is also involves, pressure on the spinal nerve can cause a person paralyze both of his legs.

Detection and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

As mentioned before, prostate cancer is detected by anus examination and also PSA screening test.

Prostate biopsy test through anus guided by ultrasound (transrectal ultrasonic biopsy) also need to be done to confirm that a person have prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer can be treated by surgery by removing completely the whole gland (radical prostatectomy). In some urologist center, this procedure may also be done by the help of robot.

Radiotherapy (X-ray) may also be use to treat prostate cancer by destroying the cancer cells.

It is very beneficial especially if surgery cannot be done on some high risk patients.

Radiotherapy also is used to treat them who have cancer cells which have spread to thigh bone and backbone.

Other treatment method includes hormonal method which is by using drugs to stop prostate cancer cells from being stimulated by dihydrotestosterone hormone.

This method blocks dihydrotestosterone hormone from being produce and this will cause prostate cancer cells to stop dividing and growing.

Dihydrotestoterone level can also be reduce by surgery by removing both testicles.

This is because testicles functions to produce testosterone that can stimulate prostate gland to produce dihydrotestoterone.

Hormone treatment method usually been used when prostate cancer has achieved the late stage.

Although it can reduce the number of cancer cells, it cannot cure the patient and it only effective for only one to two years only.

The main function at this state in just to relieve the painful signs at patient who is already in serious condition.

One of the main features of prostate cancer is the cancer cells mostly spread slowly compared to other cancer that appears on other organs such as intestine and stomach.

Research by autopsy on men died by other causes found that 30 percents of them at age of 50 already have prostate cancer and this number increases to 80 percents among those who age 70 and above.

This means most men are not aware that they already have prostate cancer but not having any symptoms and signs because of presence of the cancer and will die because of other causes such as heart disease but not prostate cancer.

Final Word on Men’s Prostate Problems

Prostate gland problems can be overcome if it is treated at early stage. Men age 50 years old and above is advise to see their doctors to undergo screening test by IPSS questions form, examination and blood test so that these problems can be detected and treated at early stage.

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