The first signs and symptoms of prostate disorder usually include problems with urination. These problems can cause you to:
- Have the urge to rush to the washroom to pass urine
- Have urine that dribbles in drops
- Have a weak urine stream
- Have the urge to pass urine more often during the night
- Have difficulty or pain while passing urine
- Feel that the bladder has not been emptied properly even after urinating
- Get frequent pain or discomfort in your lower abdomen
- Have hematuria (blood in the urine)
- Have hematospermia (blood in semen)
- Erectile dysfunction
Depending on the underlying prostate problems, you may have other symptoms.
- If you have prostatitis, your symptoms may cause long-lasting pain or discomfort in your penis or scrotum, your belly, or your lower back.
- If you have bacterial prostatitis, you may not be able to evacuate your bladder completely. Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, or body aches, may be present.
- If you have Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), you may feel the urge to urinate often during your night’s sleep. You may have urine with an abnormal color or odor. Urination or ejaculation may be painful.
Please consult your doctor if you experience any of the signs and symptoms to avoid the worsening of the prostate problems.
What are the most common prostate problems?
The three most common prostate problems are:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): BPH is the noncancerous enlargement of the prostate. It is the most common problem in men, and it is a part of the normal aging process. Factors like changes in hormone levels and fibrosis may play a role in causing BPH. Fibrosis is the thickening and stiffness of the organ wall.
Prostatitis: Prostatitis is the inflammation (swelling) of the prostate. Though it can affect men of all ages, it is more common in men younger than 50 years. It is of two types:
Bacterial prostatitis: Bacterial prostatitis can be either acute or chronic. Diagnosis usually involves detecting white blood cells and bacteria in the urine with laboratory urine tests.
- Acute bacterial prostatitis: The symptoms of acute bacterial prostatitis appear suddenly and usually subside with antibiotic therapy.
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis: In chronic bacterial prostatitis, the symptoms build up gradually and stay for a couple of weeks.
Chronic prostatitis (also known as inflammatory chronic pelvic pain syndrome): Doctors do not know the exact cause of chronic prostatitis. The diagnosis of chronic prostatitis is done when there are symptoms of prostatitis but no signs of infection. Bacteria are absent in urine tests.
Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in America. Having your father or brother with prostate cancer makes you more likely to develop it. High-fat diets also put you at risk for prostate cancer.
How are prostate problems diagnosed?
Your doctor diagnoses prostate problems based on the following:
Evaluation of your medical and family history.
A physical exam, including a digital rectal exam of your prostate. The doctor inserts their lubricated finger in the prostate to feel its texture.
Urine tests: The sample of urine is checked under a microscope to check for any signs of infection.
Cystoscopy: A tube-like camera is inserted through your urethra to reach into the bladder. This helps the doctors visualize the inside of the bladder with the help of images on the screen.
Urodynamic studies: This test involves visualizing the pressure changes in the lower urinary tract while you urinate.
Ultrasound: This test involves moving a probe (transducer) over your belly or inserting the same into your rectum to check for any abnormalities in the prostate.
Prostate biopsy: Doctors surgically remove a small piece of your prostate by making a few small cuts in your abdomen. The prostate sample is sent into the laboratory to check for the presence of cancer cells.
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Harvard Medical School. Chronic Prostatitis. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/chronic-prostatitis-a-to-z
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Difficulty with urination – frequency, weak stream, trouble getting started, etc. – is usually the first sign of prostate cancer. But these and other early symptoms of prostatic cancer can also come from benign prostate conditions, so diagnostic testing is important, including PSA tests and digital rectal exam.
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Prostate ProblemsThe prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system and is located between the bladder and penis. Signs and symptoms of prostate problems include painful ejaculation, burning or pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, dribbling urine, frequent urination, urinary incontinence, and pain in the lower back, hips, upper thighs, or the pelvic or rectal area. Common causes of prostate problems in men are prostatitis, enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer. Causes of prostate problems can assist in diagnosing prostate cancer. Treatments for prostate problems include medications, surgery, and hormone or radiation therapy.
Prostatitis (Inflammation of the Prostate Gland)Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. Signs and symptoms of prostatitis include painful or difficulty urinating; fever; chills; body aches; blood in the urine; pain in the rectum, groin, abdomen, or low back; and painful ejaculation or sexual dysfunction. Causes of prostatitis include STDs, bacteria from urinary tract infections, or E. coli. Treatment for prostatitis depends on if it is a bacterial infection or chronic inflammation of the prostate gland.
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BPH is inflammation of the prostate gland, and most men have the condition by age 50. Doctor's don't know what causes this inflammation, but they theorize that it may be related to hormones. Both of these conditions can cause similar symptoms like low back pain, pain during urination, or difficulty or the inability to urinate. However, prostatitis has many more symptoms and signs than BPH, and they based on the type of prostatitis. Examples include low back pain and/or abdominal pain, painful urination, fever, chills, feeling tired, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), painful urination intermittently, intermittent obstruction urinary tract symptoms (frequent, painful, or incomplete urination), pelvic pain and/or discomfort, pain with ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction (ED).
If you think you have either of these conditions contact your doctor or other health care professional. Bacterial prostatitis can be cured with antibiotics; however, there is no cure for BPH.