Understanding Prostate Changes: A Health Guide For Men
Understanding Prostate Changes is a health guide for men. It has information about prostate cancer symptoms, risk factors, and the PSA screening test. Other prostate conditions, such as BPH and prostatitis, are also discussed.
This health guide answers questions you may have about prostate-related conditions:
- What are signs and symptoms of prostate-related conditions and changes?
- What causes these signs and symptoms?
- What lifestyle changes may help men feel better?
- What are risk factors for prostate cancer?
- What do we know about preventing prostate cancer?
- What is the PSA test? What causes PSA levels to rise or fall?
- What medical tests and procedures are used to diagnose and treat prostate conditions?
Also included are tips to help you prepare for your doctors visit, questions to ask your doctor, medical images, and a list of prostate-related organizations and resources.
The information in this booklet was last updated in August 2011.
The prostate gland makes fluid that forms part of semen. The prostate lies just below the bladder in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra .
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States, after skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men. Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in white men. African-American men with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease than white men with prostate cancer.
What Does The Prostate Gland Actually Do
The prostate gland isnt essential for life, but it is vital for reproduction and is part of the male reproductive system.
The rest of semen is composed of sperm cells from the testicles, fluid from the seminal vesicles, and secretions from the pea-sized bulbourethral gland.
The prostatic fluid contains substances that are important to the functioning and survival of sperm cells, such as the enzyme prostate-specific antigen , which thins or loosens up semen, helping the tadpole-like sperm cells swim freely to reach the egg.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia may include
- urinary frequencyurination eight or more times a day
- urinary urgencythe inability to delay urination
- trouble starting a urine stream
- a weak or an interrupted urine stream
- dribbling at the end of urination
- nocturiafrequent urination during periods of sleep
- urinary incontinencethe accidental loss of urine
- pain after ejaculation or during urination
- urine that has an unusual color or smell
Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia most often come from
- a blocked urethra
- a bladder that is overworked from trying to pass urine through the blockage
The size of the prostate does not always determine the severity of the blockage or symptoms. Some men with greatly enlarged prostates have little blockage and few symptoms, while other men who have minimally enlarged prostates have greater blockage and more symptoms. Less than half of all men with benign prostatic hyperplasia have lower urinary tract symptoms.3
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Ruling Out Prostate Cancer
Symptoms of BPH can be scary because some of them are the same as those for prostate cancer. But an enlarged prostate is much more common than prostate cancer. And if you have BPH, you are no more likely than other men to develop prostate cancer. Because the two conditions share some symptoms and can occur at the same time, however, your doctor will need to evaluate you.
Closing The Urethra During Ejaculation
During ejaculation, the prostate contracts and squirts prostatic fluid into the urethra. Here, it mixes with sperm cells and fluid from the seminal vesicles to create semen, which the body then expels.
When the prostate contracts during ejaculation, it closes off the opening between the bladder and urethra, pushing semen through at speed. This is why, in normal anatomic situations, it is impossible to urinate and ejaculate simultaneously.
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What Happens To The Prostate After Radiation
The entire prostate gland is radiated when we treat the cancer. The prostate normally produces some of the fluid in the ejaculation. Radiation therapy has the side effect of damaging the glands in the prostate, so a lot less fluid is produced. The ejaculation may be dry or nearly dry. In addition, you will probably be sterile after radiation, but this is not 100% guaranteed and should not be relied upon as a form of birth control. You can still usually have erections because the nerves and blood vessels that go to the penis are not as damaged as the prostate gland.
The prostate gland will end up having a lot of scar tissue. It will shrink in size to about half its original weight within a couple years after finishing radiation. The urethra passes through the canter of the prostate gland like the hole of a doughnut. Sometimes this passage can widen, other times it can shrink after radiation. In summary, the prostate gland is heavily damaged from radiation and does not work normally afterwards.
Coping With Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect of prostate cancer treatments. Generally, erectile function improves within two years after surgery. Improvement may be better for younger men than for those over age 70. You also may benefit from ED medications. Other treatments, such as injection therapy and vacuum devices, may help.
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Stages Of Prostate Cancer
If you progress through the stages of prostate cancer, the cancerous cells will eventually take over more tissue around the prostate gland.
Hopefully these prostate cancer pictures have given you a better idea of what the progression looks like.
There are a number of prostate cancer treatment options available to quickly and safely deal with the situation if it so arises.
After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, the statistics are promising afterwards for living a happy and long life.
Urinary Tract Infections In Men: Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment
Nonbacteria microbes may cause a different type of chronic prostatitis, known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, which may also develop as a result of chemicals in the urine, a urinary tract infection, or pelvic nerve damage.
Affecting 10 to 15 percent of the U.S. male population, chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common type of prostatitis, but also the least understood.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of prostatitis, but can include urination problems, pain , fever, and body aches, among other things.
Some people develop asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, in which the prostate is inflamed but doesn’t produce any symptoms or require treatment.
Bacterial prostatitis is most often treated with antibiotics. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome may require drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
Over time, prostatitis may cause sexual dysfunction, abscesses in the prostate, inflammation of nearby reproductive organs, and infection of the bloodstream.
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Anatomy Of The Prostate
The prostate is a small gland in the male reproductive system. It is situated in front of the rectum, below the bladder, and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube through which urine flows out of the body. The main function of the chestnut-sized prostate is to secrete part of the seminal fluid that combines with sperm to form semen.
How Does The Doctor Know I Have Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly over many years. Most men with early prostate cancer dont have changes that they notice. Signs of prostate cancer most often show up later, as the cancer grows.
Some signs of prostate cancer are trouble peeing, blood in the pee , trouble getting an erection, and pain in the back, hips, ribs, or other bones.
If signs are pointing to prostate cancer, tests will be done. Most men will not need all of them, but here are some of the tests you may need:
PSA blood test: PSA is a protein thats made by the prostate gland and can be found in the blood. Prostate cancer can make PSA levels go up. Blood tests will be done to see what your PSA level is and how it changes over time.
Transrectal ultrasound : For this test, a small wand is put into your rectum. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off the prostate gland. The echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen.
MRI: This test uses radio waves and strong magnets to make detailed pictures of the body. MRI scans can be used to look at the prostate and can show if the cancer has spread outside the prostate to nearby organs.
Prostate biopsy: For a prostate biopsy, the doctor uses a long, hollow needle to take out small pieces of the prostate where the cancer might be. This is often done while using TRUS or MRI to look at the prostate. The prostate pieces are then checked for cancer cells. Ask the doctor what kind of biopsy you need and how its done.
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What Does Prostate Cancer Look Like And Which Are The Alarming Symptoms Of Having One
Learn what does prostate cancer look like and see which the symptoms that alarm you have one are. Men older than 40 years should know this!
Just as women have to face some types of cancer, men must face or prevent prostate cancer. The worst of all is that their symptoms usually do not appear in the first stage.
This is somewhat complicated for your treatment, since it would be easier to treat if it is detected in its early state. This way, it will increase your chance for survival. That is why men must perform preventive check-ups to rule out any type of problem.
But, prostate cancer shows several symptoms that you cannot ignore. See what does prostate cancer look like really and how to recognize the symptoms the sooner the better!
The Most Common Prostate Problem Among Men Over Age 50 This Condition Can Cause Embarrassing Urination Issues
While BPH does not increase your risk of getting prostate cancer or having sexual problems, it can affect quality of life, specifically by causing annoying and embarrassing urination problems.
“Since prostate enlargement happens gradually, men often think more frequent trips to the bathroom are a natural part of aging,” says Dr. Howard LeWine, chief medical editor at Harvard Health Publishing and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “But a little medication can help relieve symptoms, meaning less urinary urgency and fewer nighttime awakenings to use the bathroom.”
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What Is An Enlarged Prostate
An enlarged prostate occurs when men’s prostate gland slowly grows bigger as they age. More than half of men over age 60 have this condition, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia . Some men have symptoms and others don’t. The exact causes are unknown, but one thing is sure: BPH is not cancer and it does not lead to cancer. The prostate sits below the bladder and produces fluid for semen.
Home Remedies For Swollen Prostate
Home remedies are also available for swelling of the prostate. These include:
- Saw palmetto extract This is an herbal preparation used to reduce the size of the prostate and prevent swelling for normal individuals. Saw palmetto also reduces symptoms associated with swollen prostate.
- Pygeum This is also an herbal preparation extracted from Prunus Africana bark.
- Others Other herbal preparations for swollen prostate include hypoxis rooperi, pumpkin seed, rye grass and stinging nettle. These herbal medications may control symptoms and do not have potential side-effects.
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Signs Of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- feeling a need to urinate frequently or urgently and being unable to control it
- needing to go more often than usual but not producing much urine upon release
- having a weak or interrupted flow of urine when at rest
- coughing up blood in your semen or ejaculate *
If you have any of these symptoms consult a urologist without delay! The earlier you catch this disease, the better chance there is of fully recovering.
Risk Factors You Can Control
Diet seems to play a role in the development of prostate cancer, which is much more common in countries where meat and high-fat dairy are mainstays. The reason for this link is unclear. Dietary fat, particularly animal fat from red meat, may boost male hormone levels. And this may fuel the growth of cancerous prostate cells. A diet too low in fruits and vegetables may also play a role.
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Is A Prostate Massage The Same Thing As Trying For A Prostate Orgasm
Yes. If you massage the prostate in a way that feels good, youre probably going to have an orgasm if you keep at it.
Some doctors recommend prostate massage therapy to help relieve the symptoms of certain conditions, such as painful ejaculation prostatitis.
Yep! Though evidence on the efficacy of prostate massage for certain conditions is somewhat limited, it does appear to have some benefits.
Prostate Cancer: Coping With Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a very common side effect of most prostate cancer treatments. In some men, especially those under age 70, improved erectile function may occur within about 2 years after surgery. Additionally, the patient may benefit from various ED medications and therapies, including several types of devices specific for men with ED. Men with ED should discuss the various options with their doctor and partner to determine the best individual treatment method.
When Does Bph Need To Be Treated
Whether you need to treat BPH depends on your symptoms. If your symptoms are not severe, you probably won’t need treatment. But difficulty urinating, recurring infections, kidney damage, or a leaky bladder can really impact your quality of life. In these cases, medications or sometimes surgery will help.
How Prostate Cancer Is Diagnosed And Staged
Cancer staging helps you and your doctor understand how advanced your cancer is and how much it has spread at the time of diagnosis. Knowing your cancer stage also helps your doctor determine the best treatment options for you and estimate your chance of survival.
The most widely used staging system for cancer is the American Joint Committee on Cancers TNM system that classifies cancer from stage 1 to stage 4.
TNM stands for:
- Tumor: the size and extent of the tumor
- Nodes: the number or extent of nearby lymph node involvement
- Metastasis: whether cancer has spread to distant sites in the body
The TNM scale is used for many types of cancer. When a doctor uses it to determine your prostate cancer stage, theyll consider several other factors as well, including:
- grade groups
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Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer
Some risk factors have been linked to prostate cancer. A risk factor is something that can raise your chance of developing a disease. Having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that you will get prostate cancer. It just means that your risk of the disease is greater.
- Age. Men who are 50 or older have a higher risk of prostate cancer.
- Race. African-American men have the highest risk of prostate cancerâthe disease tends to start at younger ages and grows faster than in men of other races. After African-American men, prostate cancer is most common among white men, followed by Hispanic and Native American men. Asian-American men have the lowest rates of prostate cancer.
- Family history. Men whose fathers or brothers have had prostate cancer have a 2 to 3 times higher risk of prostate cancer than men who do not have a family history of the disease. A man who has 3 immediate family members with prostate cancer has about 10 times the risk of a man who does not have a family history of prostate cancer. The younger a man’s relatives are when they have prostate cancer, the greater his risk for developing the disease. Prostate cancer risk also appears to be slightly higher for men from families with a history of breast cancer.
- Diet. The risk of prostate cancer may be higher for men who eat high-fat diets.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
- Frequent urge to pass urine, especially at night
- Weak or interrupted urine stream
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
Prostate cancer can spread to the lymph nodes of the pelvis. Or it may spread throughout the body. It tends to spread to the bones. So bone pain, especially in the back, can be a symptom of advanced prostate cancer.
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Gleason Score Vs Grade Groups
The International Society of Urological Pathology released a revised prostate cancer grading system in 2014. The grade group system seeks to simplify Gleason scores and give a more accurate diagnosis.
One of the major problems with the Gleason score is that some scores can be made up in different ways. For example, a score of 7 can mean:
- 3 + 4. The 3 pattern is the most common in the biopsy and 4 is the second most common. This pattern is considered favorable intermediate risk.
- 4 + 3. The 4 pattern is the most common in the biopsy and 3 is the second most common. This pattern is considered unfavorable and may mean local or metastatic spread.
So, although both situations give a Gleason score of 7, they actually have very different prognoses.
Heres an overview of how the two grading systems compare:
|grade group 5||910|
Not all hospitals have switched to the grade group system. Many hospitals give both grade group and Gleason scores to avoid confusion until grade groups become more widely used.