Anti aging guide

Prostate Problems for Men



What is an enlarged prostate and how it affects men in old age

The prostate is a small gland, the size of a walnut, which surrounds the male urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside. The tissues of the prostate are made of fiber, muscle and cells producing fluids. The gland is under the control of several hormones and growth factors which, in a healthy man, are all fine-tuned to keep the gland healthy. Sometimes, particularly in later life, this fine-tuning becomes unbalanced, causing prostatic disease.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an age-related enlargement of the prostate affecting up to 75 per cent of all men over the age of 50. It may cause obstruction of the flow of urine, giving rise to:

  • having to wake up a few times at night to go to the toilet
  • dribbling of urine
  • a poor stream
  • a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder

The cells making up the enlarged prostate are benign, meaning that they don’t have the capacity to migrate and cause tumors in other parts of the body. With time, however, they may indeed turn malignant, causing cancer of the prostate, which carries the risk of spreading to the bones, lungs or brain.

Some scientists believe that all older men have a minute number of cancerous cells in their prostate. This mini-cancer remains undetected and doesn’t cause any problems, because it grows extremely slowly. Treatment of BPH is with drugs, nutritional supplements or surgery. The surgical operations commonly used are transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or laser treatment.

Men who undergo an operation of the prostate should know that this carries a 50 per cent risk of intimate side effects. These include reduced orgasm or impotence, as well as urinary infections or incontinence. Doctors don’t always discuss these problems with the patient according to research published a couple of years ago in the British Medical Journal. Surgery is only used, however, in more severe cases of prostatic disease.

In mild cases of BPH, drugs are used to improve the symptoms. There is a variety of suitable drugs. Some, like those called al-blockers, relax the muscles within the prostate gland, so improving the flow of urine. Others, such as finasteride (Proscar), reduce the size of the prostate but can take up to three months to work and may have side effects such as impotence and loss of libido.

Do you have prostate problems? Answer these questions to find out

  1. Do you wake up at night more than once to urinate?
  2. During urination do you frequently notice stops and starts beyond your control?
  3. After you finish passing urine, do you still have dripping of urine for over two or three seconds?
  4. Do you frequently notice a lot of spraying during passing urine?

If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, you need to see a doctor for investigation, because you may have an enlarged prostate.


Posted by Carol Hudgens - March 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm