Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: PROSTATE HEALTH

September is recognized as Prostate Health Month as well as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
Prostate Health Month provides an opportunity to increase awareness around the health issues that are associated with a man’s prostate: BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), prostate cancer and prostatitis.   You should know what your prostate is and what it does.

BPH is the medical term for an enlarged prostate (the prostate is the male sex gland that produces the fluid for semen [3].   The prostate is small, about the size of a walnut and surrunds the urethra, a tube that takes urine from the bladder to the oenis.  The urethra also carries semen during ejaculation.  The prostate gland grows during puberty and then doesn't change much until age 40 when  it begins growing again and may continue to grow with age.  An enlarged prostate is not cancerous and is the most common prostate health problem among men over 50.[1]  Half of all men between the ages of 50 and 60 will develop it, and by the age of 80 about 90% of men will have BPH.[2]

Symptoms may include:
  • Frequent, often-urgent need to urinate, especially at night
  • Need to strain or push to get the urine flowing
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder
  • Dribbling or leaking after urination
  • Weak urine stream
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It is the 2nd leading cancer killer of men, behind lung cancer. It is generally very slow growing and most men die with prostate cancer (meaning that they die of some other cause) rather than from it.  There are almost 2.8 million men living with prostate cancer in the USA.
In its early stages, prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms.   As the disease progresses, symptoms may develop that can be similar to the symptoms for BPH and/or prostatitis.
Symptoms can include:
  • Chronic pain in the hips, thighs, or lower back
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful / burning urination
  • Blood in the urine / semen
  • Trouble getting an erection
While no one knows how to prevent prostate cancer, there may be ways to reduce your risk:
  • Eat healthy – and choose a low-fat diet
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Get regular checkups
Prostatitis is the most common prostate problem for men under 50 and about 50% of all adult men will be treated for it in their lifetime.  Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that may be caused by an infection.
Symptoms of prostatitis are similar to those of BPH and prostate cancer. They can include:
  • Occasional discomfort in the testicles, urethra, lower abdomen, and back
  • Discharge from the urethra, especially during the first bowel movement of the day
  • Blood or urine in ejaculate
  • Low sperm count
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent and/or painful urination


[1] NIH Publication No. 14-3012. Prostate Enlargement: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. August 2014.
[2] American Urological Association Guideline: Management of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). P4. Revised 2010.
[3] American Urological Association Guideline: Management of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). P9. Revised 2010.

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