What Is The Prostate Gland
The prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut. It is part of the male reproductive system and wraps around the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. It grows larger as you get older. If your prostate gets too large, it can cause health issues. Having prostate problems does not always mean you have cancer.
Sometimes a doctor may find a problem during a routine checkup or by doing a rectal exam. If you think there is something wrong with your prostate, see your doctor right away.
Key Points About Prostatitis
- Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland caused by infection. It can be one of several types.
- Prostatitis is not contagious and is not an STD.
- Any man can get prostatitis at any age. Symptoms of prostatitis may include urinating more often, burning or stinging during urination, pain during urination, and fever and chills. Your healthcare provider usually diagnoses prostatitis by your symptoms and by checking your urine and semen for signs of infection.
- Antibiotics are used to treat prostatitis. In rare cases, you may need surgery.
Prostate Cancer Can Cause Pain In Many Areas And Not Just Because Of Bone Spread But Also Due To Other Features Of The Disease
It can feel different ways depending on the nature of the cause.
Curable early stage prostate cancer usually does not cause pain, says Sean Cavanaugh, MD, Chief of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
That is the most important message do not use pain as a primary screening mechanism for prostate cancer.
Most pain associated with prostate cancer is from bone metastases in stage IV disease.
For example, men with bone metastases to their spine may have pain in their back.
Prostate cancer can spread to the ribs , pelvis and femur .
Prostate cancer metastases to the spine, pelvis and femur.Wan-Hsiu Liao, Sheng-Hsiang Lin and Tsu-Tuan Wu, CC BY-SA 2.0/creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Wikimedia Commons
Even shoulder and arm pain are possible when a metastatic tumor is pressing against the spine.
Bone metastases occur in approximately 80% of patients with advanced prostate cancer, says the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
When prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it almost always goes first to the bones.
Bone pain from prostate cancer can feel like a dull ache or feel like a toothache in the bones, or you may feel a sharper sensation.
Can worsen with movement
May come and go or be constant
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Symptoms For Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
If you have acute bacterial prostatitis the symptoms usually develop very quickly. They include:
- a high temperature , feeling feverish, sweating, chills and shivering
- pain in the area between your testicles and back passage , the skin around your testicles , your penis, lower back, muscles or joints in your pelvic area, inner thighs, and sometimes in your back passage
- needing to urinate more often, especially at night
- a sudden urge to urinate
- pain when urinating
- difficulty urinating.
About 1 in 10 men with this type of prostatitis find they suddenly and painfully cant urinate. This is called acute urine retention. It needs treating straight away, usually at a hospital. The doctor or nurse will pass a thin, flexible tube called a catheter up your penis into your bladder to drain the urine. Or they might pass the catheter through the wall of your stomach area . This will help drain urine from your bladder.
It is very important to seek medical advice immediately if you think you might have acute bacterial prostatitis and have a high temperature. It needs treating straight away.
Can Back Pain Be A Symptom Of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer cells may spread to a persons bones.
There can be a connection between back pain and prostate cancer, but back pain alone is not necessarily a sign of the disease.
In advanced prostate cancer, cancer cells spread beyond the prostate to other parts of the body. These cells usually spread to the bones first, and doctors refer to this as bone metastasis.
If prostate cancer spreads to the bones, it most often reaches the spine, ribs, and hips. This occurs in stage 4 prostate cancer, and it can cause pain. According to ZERO, an advocacy group, bone metastases will affect more than 60 percent of men with advanced prostate cancer.
Individuals with chronic back pain that has no obvious cause should see a physician for an evaluation.
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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.
Are There Prostate Cancer Risk Factors To Consider
Cancer researchers have identified several factors that could increase a mans risk of developing prostate cancer. In considering whether any of these risk factors apply to you, remember that having one or more of them does not mean you will get the disease. However, you should be sure to get all the prostate cancer screenings your physician recommends. It is also important to know that men without these risk factors may also have prostate cancer.
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What Are Common Prostate Problems What Are The Warning Signs
Here are some examples of non-cancer prostate problems:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, means your prostate is enlarged but is not cancerous. It is very common in older men. An enlarged prostate may make it very difficult to urinate or cause dribbling after you urinate. You may feel the need to urinate a lot, often at night. See your family doctor for an exam. Treatments for BPH include:
- Watchful waiting is also called active surveillance. If your symptoms are not too bad, your doctor may tell you to wait before starting any treatment to see if the problem gets worse. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to return for checkups. You can start treatment later if your symptoms worsen.
- Medications. There are medicines that can help shrink the prostate or help relax muscles near your prostate to ease your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about possible side effects.
- Surgery. If nothing else has worked, your doctor may suggest surgery to help urine flow. There are many types of BPH surgery. Talk with your doctor about the risks. Regular checkups are important after surgery.
- Other treatments. Sometimes radio waves, microwaves, or lasers are used to treat urinary problems caused by BPH. These methods use different kinds of heat to reduce extra prostate tissue.
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Drugs To Strengthen The Bones
Treatment for bone pain is usually reserved for men with advanced prostate cancer. IF you have advanced prostate cancer, its likely youre already receiving cancer drugs to treat the cancer directly. For bone pain specifically, Filson says bisphosphonates are the usual course of treatment. Cancer drugs that lower testosterone can weaken bones, and doctors prescribe bisphosphonates to help reverse the process.
Who Is More Likely To Develop Prostatitis
The factors that affect a mans chances of developing prostatitis differ depending on the type.
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Men with nerve damage in the lower urinary tract due to surgery or trauma may be more likely to develop chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Psychological stress may also increase a mans chances of developing the condition.
Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis. Men with lower UTIs may be more likely to develop bacterial prostatitis. UTIs that recur or are difficult to treat may lead to chronic bacterial prostatitis.
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Other Locations Of Pain From Prostate Cancer
Pain during urination
Leg and foot pain from swelling/edema
Shooting, burning or stabbing pain can occur in the lower extremities if a metastasis is pressing against a nerve.
Lower abdominal pain or soreness can occur if a tumor is causing pressure on the organs that surround the prostate.
If youve been having any of the following symptoms, many benign conditions can explain them. But so can prostate cancer. Better safe than sorry.
Get yourself checked out if youve been experiencing any of the following:
Urination discomfort of any sort
Any difficulty with urination
Increased urges to urinate overnight
Loss of bladder control
Reduced flow of urine stream
Appearance of blood in the urine
Blood in semen
Numbness in the lower extremities
Unexplained fatigue or weight loss
WARNING: Many of the aforementioned symptoms are signs of advanced disease.
The time to get checked is at the first sign of symptoms, even if they seem trite such as reduced urine stream or having more urges to urinate overnight.
Furthermore, annual PSA tests are highly recommended beginning at age 50 for men at average risk of prostate cancer.
For more information on prostate cancer screening, call Cancer Center Treatments of America at 993-3381.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
- The need to pee often, especially at night
- Trouble starting or stopping a stream of urine
- A weak stream or one that starts and stops
- Leaking pee when you laugh or cough
- Not being able to pee standing up
- Pain or burning when you pee
- Pain or burning when you ejaculate
- Less fluid when you ejaculate
- Blood in your pee or semen
- Pressure or pain in your rectum
- Pain or stiffness in your lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs
- New trouble getting an erection
These arenât symptoms of the cancer itself. They happen because the cancer growth is blocking your prostate.
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- The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ that produces fluids to feed and protect sperm cells.
- Many men experience urinary changes as they age. In many cases, these changes do not need specific treatment.
- When urinary changes cause problems, they can be treated successfully by lifestyle changes, medication, surgery or a combination of the three.
- For problems such as blood in the urine, pain on urination, inability to urinate or uncontrollable urine flow, see your doctor promptly.
Diagnosing Back Pain And Prostate Cancer
A doctors first step in finding out the cause of back pain typically is to take an image, usually an X-ray or CT scan.
For men who have early stage or localized prostate cancer, that it would spread to the bone is very unusual, says Chris Filson, a doctor at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center. However, if a patient has more advanced prostate cancer, we have to do additional tests to ensure theres no involvement of the cancer in the bone.
A doctor who suspects or already has diagnosed prostate cancer will look for characteristic changes in the bone. The X-ray or CT scan also can indicate how much of your spine is affected and where.
In addition, an MRI can detect problems that an X-ray or CT scan cant.
Chiropractors are often the ones who first spot or suggest the presence of prostate cancer. Joint pain, especially back pain, often sends people to chiropractic care when they dont have any other symptoms of prostate cancer.
Whether youre seeing a chiropractor or medical doctor, be sure to provide your complete medical history. This can help your doctor diagnose your back pain. Its especially important to mention any personal or family history of cancer.
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Prostate Pain Location Causes Symptoms And Tests
Posted by Dr. Chris
Pain just above the genitals in men usually raises the concern about bladder or prostate problems. In young boys and male teens, prostate problems are usually not a consideration. However, prostate problems can arise in late teens with recent studies noting an increase in prostate cancer among teen males. In younger males, pain above the genitals is more likely associated with the bladder.
With older males, either prostate or bladder problems can be the cause of pain in this region. The bladder lies above the prostate. Therefore bladder pain is typically felt slightly higher than prostate pain. Most of the time this can be difficult to isolate and prostate problems can only be differentiated from bladder problems after conducting diagnostic investigations. Even other symptoms may also be similar in both bladder and prostate problems.
Can Ejaculating Help To Prevent Prostate Cancer
There has been an interesting study that shows that the more a man ejaculates, the less likely he is to develop advanced prostate cancer. This was a single study and is not being confirmed. However, it is important for a man to ejaculate at least two or three times a week if he is in his younger, very virile age period. The older a man gets, the less he is able to orgasm.
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Type Of Prostate Pain
Prostate pain can be non-specific and often associated with chronic unexplained pelvic pain in men . The presence of urinary symptoms, microorganisms and inflammatory cells in the urine and semen are the only conclusive indication that the pain is associated with the prostate gland.
Prostate pain is often described as discomfort or pain that lies deep to the penis and scrotum although most patients will report that it is not extending to the rectum. The character of the pain can vary significantly with some patients reporting a mild discomfort like the bladder is not completely empty pressure or fullness but not actual pain.
At other times, it may be described as a dull ache or pain that is mild, moderate or severe. The pain may be burning, attacks of sharp or stabbing pain, or a bursting pain similar to an extremely distended bladder. Identifying a prostate condition solely on the location and nature of the pain is difficult and therefore other symptoms have to be noted.
What Is Prostate Pain
Prostatodynia is the medical term for prostate pain. It may also include other sensations like prostate discomfort and is a sign of prostate problems. Pain and discomfort may be seen in all three of the main conditions affecting the prostate gland prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. The pain may vary in severity and nature radiating to surrounding structures and extending to the lower back or even the tip of the penis.
At times, prostate pain may involve a large area of the lower abdomen or the entire pelvis. It is not uncommon for no pain to be present, especially in mild BPH and chronic prostatitis, with discomfort or pain only being reported during acute exacerbation and a secondary prostate gland infection.
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What Causes Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is a type of infective prostatitis. It is caused by a persistent infection with a germ of the prostate gland. A man with chronic bacterial prostatitis will usually have had recurring urine infections. Chronic bacterial prostatitis is usually caused by the same type of germs that causes the urine infections. The prostate gland can harbour infection and therefore recurring infections can occur. Chronic bacterial prostatitis is not a sexually transmitted infection.
Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the:
- lymph nodes
A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
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How Will Your Doctor Diagnose A Prostate Infection
A prostate infection diagnosis is based on your medical history, a physical exam, and medical tests. Your doctor can also rule out other serious conditions such as prostate cancer during the exam. During a physical exam, your doctor will conduct a digital rectal exam to test your prostate and will look for:
- enlarged or tender lymph nodes in the groin
- swollen or tender scrotum
Your doctor may also ask about your symptoms, recent UTIs, and medications or supplements youre taking. Other medical tests that can help your diagnosis and treatment plan include:
- urinalysis or semen analysis, to look for infections
- a prostate biopsy or a blood test for prostate-specific antigen
- urodynamic tests, to see how your bladder and urethra store urine
- cystoscopy, to look inside the urethra and bladder for blockage
Your doctor may also order an ultrasound to get a closer look. The cause will help determine the correct course of treatment.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What type of prostatitis do I have?
- What is the best treatment for this type of prostatitis?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- How can I avoid getting prostatitis again?
- What type of follow-up care do I need after treatment?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Prostatitis is a common problem that affects many men. Unfortunately, theres a lot of confusion about the disease. People use the word prostatitis to describe four different conditions. There isnt a one-size-fits-all treatment for prostatitis, which is why an accurate diagnosis is so important.
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