What Every Man Should Know About Prostate Health

Your prostate gland is an important part of your reproductive anatomy and your sexual health. You may think of prostate health as a concern for middle age and onward, but it helps to get a head start on understanding healthy prostate function and how best to take care of yourself. While the risk of prostate health issues tends to increase as you enter middle age, all men are at risk for prostate problems.

If you live in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, or South Florida areas and you're dealing with prostate problems, Drs. Craig Herman, Steven Kester and the staff at the Urology Center of Florida can help. They have decades of experience offering the latest diagnostic and treatment methods to give you the help you need with prostate issues and many other urological conditions.

Understanding your prostate

This walnut-sized gland is important in producing seminal fluid, a key component of semen, which allows sperm to travel from the penis. The prostate is responsible for closing off the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body) when ejaculating. It also contains an enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which in addition to regulating prostate function, is vital for secondary sex characteristics like facial hair.

Conditions that can affect it

There are three common problems that affect the prostate:

Prostatitis

This is the most common prostate condition in men under 50, and it typically consists of inflammation and swelling. Bacterial infection can also cause acute prostatitis, and if an inflammation lasts longer than three months, it can become chronic prostatitis. This affects 10-15% of men in the U.S.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH, or enlarged prostate, is the most common condition in men over 50. Once the prostate gets larger, it can press on the urethra, making it harder to empty your bladder and possibly prevent it entirely if it gets bad enough.

Prostate Cancer

This is the most common form of cancer in men, affecting one in nine over their lifetime. A diagnosis of this condition typically starts at around 65, but because the cancer is often slow growing only 1 in 35 men die of it. However, some forms of prostate cancer are more aggressive and deadly, so it’s important to get regular screenings as recommended by your doctor to detect it early on.

Typical symptoms of prostate problems include poor bladder control, urinary urgency, weak urine stream, or difficulty starting or stopping urination. Problems with your prostate can also create issues with sexual function, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and even kidney failure.

Methods of treatment

Treatments will vary depending on the specific condition. BPH can be treated with medications that reduce tension around the urethra (Cardura, Flomax, Hytrin, and Uroxatral) or reduce the size of your prostate (Avodart and Proscar). If nothing else works, surgery may be necessary.

Prostatitis is often due to a bacterial infection and is usually treated with antibiotics, but prostate cancer is more difficult to manage, depending on the severity of the condition. If the cancer is still small, watchful waiting (where the condition is monitored over time with no other treatment unless something changes) may be the solution, but in more severe cases, chemotherapy, surgery or a combination of the two may be the method of treatment.

Caring for your prostate means taking care of yourself and seeking medical help when you think something is wrong. If you have any concerns about possible prostate problems, make an appointment with Drs. Herman, Kester and the Urology Center of Florida today.

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