Prostate Problem Warning Signs (cont.)

Prostate problems introduction

Stan just found out that a friend has prostate cancer. A lot of men he knows have some kind of problem with their prostate. He's worried that this might happen to him.

It's true that prostate problems are common after age 50. The good news is there are many things you can do.

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut. It is part of the male reproductive system and wraps around the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. It grows larger as you get older. If your prostate gets too large, it can cause health issues. Having prostate problems does not always mean you have cancer.

Sometimes a doctor may find a problem during a routine checkup or by doing a rectal exam. If you think there is something wrong with your prostate, see your doctor right away.

What are common prostate problems?

Here are some examples of non-cancer prostate problems:

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, means your prostate is enlarged, but is not cancerous. It is very common in older men. An enlarged prostate may make it very difficult to urinate or cause dribbling after you urinate. You may feel the need to urinate a lot, often at night. See your family doctor for an exam. Treatments for BPH include:

  • Watchful waiting, also called active surveillance. If your symptoms are not too bad, your doctor may tell you to wait before starting any treatment to see if the problem gets worse. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to return for checkups. You can start treatment later if your symptoms worsen.
  • Medications. There are medicines that can help shrink the prostate or help relax muscles near your prostate to ease your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about possible side effects.
  • Surgery. If nothing else has worked, your doctor may suggest surgery to help urine flow. There are many types of BPH surgery. Talk with your doctor about the risks. Regular checkups are important after surgery.
  • Other treatments. Sometimes radio waves, microwaves, or lasers are used to treat urinary problems caused by BPH. These methods use different kinds of heat to reduce extra prostate tissue.

Acute bacterial prostatitis usually starts suddenly from a bacterial infection. It can cause fever, chills, or pain. It might hurt when you urinate, or you may see blood in your urine. See your doctor right away. He or she can prescribe medicine to make you feel better.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an infection that comes back again and again. This is a rare problem that can be hard to treat. Sometimes taking antibiotics for a long time may work. Talk with your doctor about other things you can do to help you feel better.

Chronic prostatitis, also called Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS), is a common prostate problem. It can cause pain in the lower back, in the groin area, or at the tip of the penis. Men with this problem often have painful ejaculation. They may feel the need to urinate frequently, but pass only a small amount of urine. Treating this condition may require a combination of medicines, surgery, and lifestyle changes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2014

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Prostate Problems - Type Question: Do you have an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, prostatitis, or some other type of prostate problem?
Prostate Problems - Signs Question: What prostate problem signs do you experience?
Prostate Problems - PSA Test Question: Have you had a PSA test as part of the workup for your prostate problem?
Prostate Problems - Diagnosis Question: Please describe your diagnosis experience with prostate problems.
Prostate Problems - Treatment Question: What kind of treatment did you have for your prostate problem?

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