An enlarged prostate can cause sexual problems in men, such as:
- Erectile dysfunction (the inability to attain and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse at least 25% of the time)
- Reduced sex drive
- Decreased sexual satisfaction
Sudden onset of erectile dysfunction (ED) may be a sign of prostate cancer and needs medical evaluation. Erectile dysfunctions may also occur after the therapy for prostate cancer including surgery, radiotherapy, and hormonal therapy.
Sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction or ejaculation problems, may occur in men with noncancerous enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). Sexual dysfunction in BPH usually results from the treatment rather than the disease. Medications for BPH, such as the antitestosterone drug and finasteride (Proscar), have been associated with erectile dysfunction in 3.7% of men who use it. Finasteride is also linked with diminished libido in 3.3% men. Other medications for BPH, such as terazosin (Hytrin), tamsulosin (Flomax), and doxazosin (Cardura), can improve BPH symptoms with a lower risk of sexual side effects.
Surgical procedures for BPH, such as the transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), are often used when medications fail. Erectile dysfunction can occur because of TURP in a small percentage of men.
What causes prostate enlargement?
The prostate gland or prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system. It produces fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. The prostate gland is situated just below the bladder and in front of the rectum (the last part of the large bowel). It surrounds the urethra (the tube through which urine passes out of the body). It is roughly the size of a walnut.
The causes of prostate enlargement are not well understood. Research suggests that aging and changes in the cells of the testicles may play some role in the enlargement of the prostate. This is supported by the fact that males, who got their testicles removed at a young age because of reasons like testicular cancer, do not get BPH). Furthermore, in males with BPH, removal of the testicles causes the prostate to shrink in size. Removal of testicles, however, is not done to treat BPH since there are several other safe and effective treatment options. The chances of having an enlarged prostate increase with age. In several men over 40 years of age, a small amount of prostate enlargement is present. The condition, however, affects over 90% of the men over 80 years of age.
What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate?
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
- Frequent urination
- Strong and sudden urge to urinate
- Dribbling at the end of urinating
- Inability to urinate (urinary retention)
- Inability to empty the bladder
- Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control)
- Nocturia (needing to urinate two or more times per night)
- Pain during urination or bloody urine (these may indicate infection or other serious problem)
- Slowed or delayed the start of the urinary stream
- Straining to urinate
- Thin or weak urine stream
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
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How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is largely a disease of men over 40, so it’s around this age doctors recommend the first prostate screening. The first exam is a blood test to determine if there are abnormal prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in your blood – PSA is produced by the prostate. If the PSA is high, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, during which the doctor feels your prostate from inside your rectum with a gloved finger. Other diagnostic tests include an endoscopic biopsy of tumor tissue for analysis in a lab.
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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer.
- Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet.
- Prostate cancer is diagnosed by a digital rectal exam, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy.
- Symptoms may include
- frequent need to urinate,
- incontinence, pain,
- blood in the urine,
- fatigue, and more.
- Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging.
- Watchful waiting,
- cryotherapy, and
- other management strategies are available.
- Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
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Prostate Cancer Staging and Survival Rates
The prognosis for prostate cancer, as with any cancer, depends on how advanced the cancer has become, according to established stage designations. The patient's PSA score at diagnosis, as well as their Gleason score (the grading system used to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer) determines the prognosis and final stage designation. Prostate cancer has a high survival rate in general, but your chances depend on the stage of the cancer.
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