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How To Detect An Enlarged Prostate

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Prostate Cancer Diagnoses And Treatment

How to Detect Prostate Problems : Enlarging Tumors & Prostate Cancer

All cancer is complex, but prostate cancer testing and treatment is particularly complicated.

In some men with prostate cancer, the cancer will grow very slowly, and wont significantly affect them during their lifetime. Other mens prostate cancer can grow and spread very quickly. At the moment, there is no test that can tell what type of prostate cancer a man has when he is diagnosed.

Because some treatments for prostate cancer can cause side effects which might impact on quality of life, its important for men to discuss with their doctor all their options for testing and treatment, and to discuss these with their partners and families. These might include watchful waiting, which means waiting to see what the cancer does over time, radiation, surgery or taking medications.

You can read more about what kinds of questions to ask your doctors about prostate cancer testing and treatment on theCancer Council website.

How Do I Screen For Prostate Cancer

There are two main early stage screening methods a digital rectal exam , and a blood test measuring PSA levels. PSA screening is regarded as the best method to screen for prostate cancer in men over 40 or those of a certain risk factor.

While men might be intimidated by a DRE, itâs a quick and safe screening technique used by a physician, and should cause no significant pain.

A Digital Rectal Exam is a simple, painless and quick procedure. A physician inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate to identify if the prostate is enlarged, has lumps or is an abnormal texture compared to a healthy example.

Although this procedure is a very clear indicator of prostate health, the entire prostate canât be examined during a DRE. This is why physicians will also take into account PSA blood work, health history, and other risk factors. Overall, itâs often difficult to detect prostate cancer early, itâs mostly found through PSA testing – so PSA screenings should be done regularly, starting at the age of 40-50.

How The Prostate Changes As You Age

Because the prostate gland tends to grow larger with age, it may squeeze the urethra and cause problems in passing urine. Sometimes men in their 30s and 40s may begin to have these urinary symptoms and need medical attention. For others, symptoms aren’t noticed until much later in life. An infection or a tumor can also make the prostate larger. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the urinary symptoms listed below.

Tell your doctor if you have these urinary symptoms:

  • Are passing urine more during the day
  • Have an urgent need to pass urine
  • Have less urine flow
  • Feel burning when you pass urine
  • Need to get up many times during the night to pass urine

Growing older raises your risk of prostate problems. The three most common prostate problems are inflammation , enlarged prostate , and prostate cancer.

One change does not lead to another. For example, having prostatitis or an enlarged prostate does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. It is also possible for you to have more than one condition at the same time.

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Tests Used To Check The Prostate

This first step lets your doctor hear and understand the “story” of your prostate concerns. You’ll be asked whether you have symptoms, how long you’ve had them, and how much they affect your lifestyle. Your personal medical history also includes any risk factors, pain, fever, or trouble passing urine. You may be asked to give a urine sample for testing.

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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Another type of prostate issue is chronic prostatitis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. This condition causes pain in the lower back and groin area, and may cause urinary retention. Symptoms include leaking and discomfort. In severe cases, a catheter may be required to relieve the symptoms. If the problem is unresponsive to other treatments, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure. If these do not work, your symptoms could progress and become chronic.

An acute bacterial infection can cause a burning sensation. Inflammation of the prostate can affect the bladder and result in discomfort and other symptoms. This is the most common urinary tract problem in men under 50, and the third most common in men over 65. The symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis are similar to those of CPPS. Patients may experience a fever or chills as a result of the infection.

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Referral To A Urologist

The GP may refer you to a urologist or other appropriate specialist if:

  • previous treatments have not helped your urinary problems
  • a urinary infection does not go away or comes back regularly
  • you cannot fully empty your bladder
  • you have kidney problems
  • you have stress incontinence, which is when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure for example, when you cough or laugh

You should also see a specialist if the GP is concerned that your symptoms could be caused by cancer, although for most men this is not the cause.

To help find out what might be causing your symptoms and decide how to manage them, you should be offered extra tests to measure:

  • how fast your urine flows
  • how much urine is left in your bladder after you have peed

You may also be offered other tests, depending on your symptoms or the treatment you and your doctor are considering.

Page last reviewed: 10 February 2020 Next review due: 10 February 2023

How Is Bph Diagnosed

To find out if you have BPH, your provider will:

  • Ask about your medical history. Be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you take, because certain medicines can make BPH symptoms worse.
  • Ask about your family health history.
  • Examine you. The exam may include a digital rectal exam of your prostate. In a DRE, your provider inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to check if your prostate is large, tender, or irregular in any other way.
  • Order medical tests, if needed, such as:
  • A PSA blood test .
  • Urodynamic testing to see how well you can hold and release urine.
  • Cystoscopy to look inside your urethra and bladder.
  • Ultrasound pictures of your prostate and urinary tract.
  • A prostate biopsy to diagnose or rule out prostate cancer.

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Can A Enlarged Prostate Be Caused By Bph

Although ED may be caused by a variety of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels, or psychological issues, it can also be made worse by BPH. Some medications used to treat an enlarged prostate can cause ED. However, some medications used to treat ED can help improve symptoms of BPH.

Why Is A Prostate

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A PSA blood test is performed to detect or rule out prostate cancer. The amount of PSA in the blood is often higher in men who have prostate cancer. However, an elevated PSA level does not necessarily indicate prostate cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the PSA blood test for use in conjunction with a DRE to help detect prostate cancer in men age 50 or older and for monitoring men with prostate cancer after treatment. However, much remains unknown about how to interpret a PSA blood test, its ability to discriminate between cancer and problems such as BPH and prostatitis, and the best course of action if the PSA level is high.

When done in addition to a DRE, a PSA blood test enhances detection of prostate cancer. However, the test is known to have relatively high false-positive rates. A PSA blood test also may identify a greater number of medically insignificant lumps or growths, called tumors, in the prostate. Health care providers and patients should weigh the benefits of PSA blood testing against the risks of follow-up diagnostic tests. The procedures used to diagnose prostate cancer may cause significant side effects, including bleeding and infection.

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The Initial Causes How To Detect Prostate Cancer Symptoms

One of the first symptoms of prostate issues is pain or tenderness in the groin or lower back. This can be the result of a noncancerous condition called enlarged prostatic tissue, or it could be an infection of the bladder. In either case, its important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If youre suffering from prostate pain, you may want to consider reducing your caffeine intake.

Another symptom of a potentially enlarged prostate is difficulty starting a stream of urine, leaking, or dribbling. These symptoms are not serious, but theyre still alarming. Most men put up with an enlarged prostate for years before seeking medical attention, but they typically seek treatment as soon as they notice symptoms. Even if you dont have symptoms, its worth getting checked to determine if you have any prostate issues.

If you experience nightly bathroom runs, you may be experiencing an enlarged prostate. You may be having difficulty starting a stream of urine, or you may even be dribbling or leaking during the day. These problems arent life-threatening, but can become a nuisance. You should not ignore these signs and seek treatment as soon as you notice them. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.

Prostate Specific Antigen Testing

Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein made by the cells in your prostate. Your PSA levels can be measured using a blood test and give an indication of your prostate health.

A PSA test isnt a test for cancer. Higher levels of PSA might indicate prostate cancer, but a high reading could also be caused by other conditions. It is also possible to have low level readings and have prostate cancer. This means that a PSA test isnt enough to definitively diagnose or rule out prostate cancer. Your PSA levels can vary, so your doctor might run this test a few times to compare your results and help determine your risk of prostate cancer.

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Keeping Your Prostate Healthy

Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your body well and protect against cancer.

Maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, and having a healthy diet can all play important roles in preventing disease, including prostate cancer.

  • A review of research suggests that eating red foods such as tomatoes and watermelon may reduce progression and growth of prostate cancer cells. Red foods contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene.
  • Eating fruit, especially citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes and mandarins may also slightly lower your risk of prostate cancer, according to some studies.
  • Coffee and green tea may also lower cancer risk, but more studies need to be done to confirm this.
  • A review of research done in 2014 indicated there may be a link between saturated fats and animal fats and prostate cancer risk, so it may pay to reduce intake of these types of fats.

For some ideas about looking after your health at all ages, read through the Queensland Governments guide to good health for men: Mens health through the decades.

And one last thing you may have heard that too frequent masturbation can cause prostate cancer. Its been studied, and so far there have been no links found between masturbating or having sex too often and prostate cancer. If anything, the effect may be the opposite, but more research is needed to know how and why.

Medications For Enlarged Prostate

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There are two main classes of pharmaceuticals that work to alleviate enlarged prostate symptoms: alpha blockers and alpha reductase inhibitors

  • Alpha Blockers. Alpha blockers relax the smooth muscle around the bladder neck and within the urethra.
  • Inhibitors. Inhibitors stop the conversion of the male hormone testosterone to DHT to reduce the prostates size, eliminating blockage.

Dont be surprised if your physician prescribes a combination of the two medications, as they have been shown to work more effectively together than alone. The downside is that combination therapy may increase the likelihood of experiencing side effects from the medications. Be sure to work with your doctor to assess the benefits and costs before starting on combination therapy.

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Checking For Psa At Home

Itâs best to look for prostate symptoms and then screen using a Prostate Specific Antigen blood test. While there is no physical way for you to check for prostate cancer at home, there are at-home screening options for PSA. imaware⢠at-home test for PSA can help screen you for prostate issues.

The Initial Causes Detect Enlarged Prostate

One of the first symptoms of prostate issues is pain or tenderness in the groin or lower back. This can be the result of a noncancerous condition called enlarged prostatic tissue, or it could be an infection of the bladder. In either case, its important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If youre suffering from prostate pain, you may want to consider reducing your caffeine intake.

Another symptom of a potentially enlarged prostate is difficulty starting a stream of urine, leaking, or dribbling. These symptoms are not serious, but theyre still alarming. Most men put up with an enlarged prostate for years before seeking medical attention, but they typically seek treatment as soon as they notice symptoms. Even if you dont have symptoms, its worth getting checked to determine if you have any prostate issues.

If you experience nightly bathroom runs, you may be experiencing an enlarged prostate. You may be having difficulty starting a stream of urine, or you may even be dribbling or leaking during the day. These problems arent life-threatening, but can become a nuisance. You should not ignore these signs and seek treatment as soon as you notice them. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.

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When Is Bph Treatment Necessary

The course of BPH in any individual is not predictable. Symptoms, as well as objective measurements of urethral obstruction, can remain stable for many years and may even improve over time for as many as one-third of men, according to some studies. In a study from the Mayo Clinic, urinary symptoms did not worsen over a 3.5-year period in 73% of men with mild BPH. A progressive decrease in the size and force of the urinary stream and the feeling of incomplete bladder emptying are the symptoms most correlated with the eventual need for treatment. Although nocturia is one of the most annoying BPH symptoms, it does not predict the need for future intervention.

If worsening urethral obstruction is left untreated, possible complications are a thickened, irritable bladder with reduced capacity for urine infected residual urine or bladder stones and a backup of pressure that damages the kidneys.

  • Inadequate bladder emptying resulting in damage to the kidneys
  • Complete inability to urinate after acute urinary retention
  • Incontinence due to overfilling or increased sensitivity of the bladder
  • Recurrent severe hematuria
  • Symptoms that trouble the patient enough to diminish his quality of life

What Are Additional Tests For Detecting Prostate Problems

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If the DRE or the PSA blood test indicates a problem may exist, the health care provider may order additional tests, including urinalysis, urodynamic tests, cystoscopy, abdominal ultrasound, transrectal ultrasound with prostate biopsy, and imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography scan.

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Questions You May Want To Consider Asking Your Doctor Include:

  • What type of prostate problem do I have?
  • Is more testing needed and what will it tell me?
  • If I decide on watchful waiting, what changes in my symptoms should I look for and how often should I be tested?
  • What type of treatment do you recommend for my prostate problem?
  • For men like me, has this treatment worked?
  • How soon would I need to start treatment and how long would it last?
  • Do I need medicine and how long would I need to take it before seeing improvement in my symptoms?
  • What are the side effects of the medicine?
  • Are there other medicines that could interfere with this medication?
  • If I need surgery, what are the benefits and risks?
  • Would I have any side effects from surgery that could affect my quality of life?
  • Are these side effects temporary or permanent?
  • How long is recovery time after surgery?
  • Will I be able to fully return to normal?
  • How will this affect my sex life?
  • How often should I visit the doctor to monitor my condition?
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What Are The Treatments For Bph

Not everyone needs treatment for BPH. Treatment options depend on how much your symptoms bother you, your health, age, and the size of your prostate:

  • Lifestyle changes may improve mild symptoms. They include:

  • Drinking less before bedtime or going out
  • Avoiding or cutting back on beverages with caffeine and alcohol
  • Bladder training and exercising the muscles that control urine flow
  • Preventing or treating constipation
  • Medicines can help mild to moderate symptoms by:

  • Stopping the prostate from growing
  • Shrinking the prostate
  • Relaxing muscles to improve urine flow
  • Sometimes combining 2 types of medicine helps more than taking just one type of medicine.

  • Medical procedures can help improve moderate to severe BPH symptoms when medicines don’t help enough. There are several different types of procedures. They all use an instrument inserted into the urethra to either:

  • Widen the urethra
  • Destroy part of the prostate with heat
  • Surgery may be helpful when symptoms are severe, other treatments haven’t helped, or you have another problem, such as bladder damage. Different types of surgery are used to:

  • Remove part or all of the prostate
  • Make cuts in the prostate to take pressure off the urethra
  • Most BPH surgery is done with tools inserted into the urethra.

    Your provider can explain the possible benefits and side effects of your treatment options so you can decide what’s best for you.

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