What is the prostate? The prostate gland is part of the genitourinary system in the male. It is comparable to a gland in females known as the Skene’s Gland. Its role is in the body is to store and secrete a non-acidic fluid that may help adjust the pH of vaginal secretions, affording better motility of sperm, longer survival, and better protection of DNA (genetic material). The prostate also controls a complex series of valves that sends the semen into the urethra during ejaculatory process and a prostate muscle called the sphincter seals the bladder, thereby preventing urine entry into the urethra. The activity and growth of the prostate is under the control of the hormone system. Imbalanced hormones can often be associated with one or more symptoms associated with prostate infection, BPH, or cancer.
What is prostatitis? Prostatitis means the prostate might be inflamed or irritated. If you have prostatitis, you may have a burning feeling when you urinate, or you may have to urinate more often. Or you may have a fever or just feel tired.
Inflammation in any part of the body is usually a sign that the body is fighting germs or repairing an injury. Some kinds of prostatitis are caused by bacteria, tiny organisms that can cause infection or disease. If you have bacterial prostatitis, your doctor can look through a microscope and find bacteria in a sample of your urine. Your doctor can then give you an antibiotic, a medicine that kills bacteria.
What is prostate enlargement, or BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy)? If you’re a man over 50 and have started having problems urinating, the reason could be an enlarged prostate, or BPH. As men get older, their prostate keeps growing. As it grows, it squeezes the urethra. Since urine travels from the bladder through the urethra, the pressure from the enlarged prostate may affect bladder control. If you have BPH, you may have one or more of these problems:
- A frequent and urgent need to urinate. You may get up several times a night to go to the bathroom.
- Trouble starting a urine stream. Even though you feel you have to rush to get to the bathroom, you find it hard to start urinating.
- A weak stream of urine
- A small amount of urine each time you go
- The feeling that you still have to go, even when you have just finished urinating
- Leaking or dribbling urine
- Small amounts of blood in your urine
Is BPH a sign of cancer? No. It’s true that some men with prostate cancer also have BPH, but that doesn’t mean that the two conditions are always linked. Most men with BPH don’t develop prostate cancer. However, because the early symptoms are the same for both conditions, you should see a doctor to evaluate these symptoms.
Is BPH a serious disease? By itself, BPH is not a serious condition, unless the symptoms are so bothersome that you can’t enjoy life. But BPH can lead to serious problems. One problem is urinary tract infections. If you can’t urinate at all, you should get medical help right away. Sometimes this happens suddenly to men after they take an over-the-counter cold or allergy medicine. In rare cases, BPH and its constant urination problems can lead to kidney damage.
Does vasectomy increase risk of prostate cancer? In 1993, the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed a connection between vasectomy and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Reported studies of 48,000 and 29,000 men who had vasectomies showed 66 percent and 56 percent higher rates of prostate cancer, respectively. The risk increased with age and the number of years since the vasectomy was performed. In 1997, the NCI held a conference with the prostate cancer Progressive Review Group (a committee of scientists, medical personnel, and others). Their final report, published in 1998 stated that evidence that vasectomies help to develop prostate cancer was weak at best.
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Progesterone for Men is also useful to offset sources of prostate enlargement by fighting off xenoestrogens.