If you’re a man, you have a prostate gland, but inside your body and not something you can see. As a result, many men don’t fully understand the role or location of this small body part and the different problems that can arise with it.
Our board-certified providers at Urology Associates Medical Group in Burbank, California, are dedicated to helping men of all ages better understand their bodies and the signs to look for that might indicate an issue.
Keep reading to learn more about the prostate and the most common things that can go wrong with this important gland.
Understanding the prostate gland
Your prostate gland surrounds the top part of your urethra and is located just under your bladder. The main job of this small walnut-sized gland is to make seminal fluid, the fluid that carries sperm.
The prostate gland grows throughout your life. This means that with time and as it grows larger, it can put pressure on your bladder and begin to constrict the top part of the urethra, triggering urinary symptoms.
For some men, symptoms of an enlarged prostate can begin in their 30s or 40s, while other men might not notice symptoms until much later in life. In addition to enlargement, other prostate issues can arise, as we explain in the next section.
Prostate problems that can arise
The three most common issues that can arise with the prostate gland are an enlarged prostate (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), prostatitis (prostate inflammation), and prostate cancer.
Having one of these issues does not increase your risk of developing the others. Here’s a closer look at these prostate problems.
When your prostate gland grows to the point where it starts to cause urinary symptoms, you have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate. This condition is very common, with about 50% of men affected by age 60 and 90% by age 85.
BPH may not be cancerous or life threatening, but it can cause frustrating symptoms that detract from your quality of life, including:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Trouble starting to urinate
- Urinating multiple times at night
- Slow urine stream or dribbling
- Trouble emptying your bladder fully
- Difference in the color or smell of your urine
- Pain during urination
- Pain after ejaculation
In severe cases, BPH can cause complications that require medical intervention, such as kidney damage, a blocked urethra, chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones, and bladder infections.
If you suspect BPH, contact us at Urology Associates Medical Group, since early intervention can help prevent complications.
About half of all men develop inflammation in their prostate called prostatitis at some point during their lives. There are different types of prostatitis, including:
- Acute bacterial prostatitis, a bacterial infection that comes on suddenly and is treated with antibiotic
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis, a chronic bacterial infection that triggers frequent urinary tract infections and requires a long course of antibiotics
- Chronic prostatitis, a condition not related to a bacterial infection that causes ongoing pain and discomfort and can be difficult to treat
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis, a bacterial infection that doesn’t trigger any symptoms and may only be discovered during a routine prostate screening
The most common of these is acute bacterial prostatitis, which can cause symptoms such as:
- Blood in your urine
- Trouble urinating
- Pain near the base of the penis
- Severe chills and fever
- Changes to your urine
If you have symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis, contact us or go to your nearest emergency room for treatment to minimize chances of long-term issues.
The most serious prostate problem is prostate cancer. About one in eight American men develop this condition, which occurs when cells in the prostate grow out of control.
There are different types of prostate cancer. Most types grow slowly, but some can grow and spread rapidly. This is why it’s crucial to get regular prostate screenings.
Most screenings include two parts, a prostate-specific antigen blood test and digital rectal exam. We let you know at what age you should start this important screening based on a variety of factors, but most men begin between ages 45-55.
Learn more about the prostate, what can go wrong, and how we can help by scheduling a consultation at Urological Associates Medical Group in Burbank, California.