It’s no secret that most people avoid talking about intimate parts of their bodies. However, this reluctance can put your health at risk, especially when it comes to the prostate.
About 1 in 8 men receives a prostate cancer diagnosis at some point. However, the prostate can also contribute to other problems, especially as you age. Having a better understanding of this small gland can help you detect the signs of a problem as early as possible, and you can get the help you need solving them.
Our team at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina specializes in diagnosing and treating men’s health problems, including those involving the prostate.
Here, we share five important things every man should know about his prostate.
To start, many people associate the prostate with the urinary tract because it can trigger symptoms like frequent urination or difficulty urinating. However, it’s actually a reproductive organ.
The prostate gland sits in front of the rectum, just below the bladder. It can interfere with urination because it surrounds the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of the body through your penis.
However, this gland helps make seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm during ejaculation.
There’s a reason why many men begin having problems with their prostate in older age — it keeps on growing.
At puberty, the prostate nearly doubles in size, to about the size of a walnut. It resumes growth in the mid-20s, and never stops again. The gland can be the size of a lemon by the time a man reaches age 60.
While this wouldn’t be an issue in most cases, the prostate has an outer layer of tissue that keeps it from expanding outward. Instead, the gland begins to press against the urethra, similar to a clamp.
This pressure on the urethra can interfere with urine flow, causing the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.
Most people have heard of an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. However, other issues can affect the prostate too, including prostatitis.
When you have prostatitis, your prostate becomes inflamed and swollen. Different types of prostatitis cause various symptoms, such as:
You can develop prostatitis at any age, but it typically affects those under 50.
If you’ve been putting off your prostate cancer screening, it’s time to schedule your appointment — this cancer rarely causes symptoms until it becomes more advanced.
Generally speaking, our team recommends starting prostate cancer screenings at 50. However, they provide personalized suggestions based on your personal risk for the disease, such as:
African Americans also have higher risks of prostate cancer, including forms more aggressive or advanced than people of other races.
Finally, it’s important to learn about your prostate and talk about it because we can help treat the problems it can cause.
For example, if your enlarged prostate is causing urinary issues, treatments range from lifestyle changes and medications to minimally invasive treatments like UroLift®.
Similarly, prostate cancer is highly treatable, especially in the earliest stages, and not all forms require treatment at all. Instead, we make a careful diagnosis and watch the cancer to see if it grows.
So, don’t wait to schedule an appointment if you notice signs of a prostate problem, such as:
And, of course, never ignore pain or discomfort in your lower back, belly, penis, or scrotum.
Do you have concerns about your prostate? Contact our Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina office in Wilmington or Southport, North Carolina, to schedule a consultation today.