The prostate is a gland that is unique to men. It is also distinctive because it is gland that continues to grow as a man ages. The growth of the prostate, as well as its location, can make it a source of pain and discomfort, especially for men over the age of 60.
Signs of an Enlarged Prostate
As the prostate continues to grow, it has the potential to cause bladder problems and even pain. Symptoms can include pain or burning with urination, frequent or urgent urination, inability to completely empty the bladder, or the sensation that the bladder has not been emptied.
Most of the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate are uncomfortable and signify a benign condition. However, there are some symptoms, including painful ejaculation; constant (or recurrent) pain in the lower back, hips, testicles, rectum or pelvis; or painful urination with fever, that require the prompt attention of a physician.
Causes of Pain
Prostate problems are typically from three sources: benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis (inflamed or infected prostate) and prostate cancer. The recurrent pain in the pelvic and/or rectal area, which often characterizes chronic prostatitis, is the most difficult to address due to the lack of infection.
Problems with the prostate can be diagnosed in a number of different ways. A thorough exam will typically be conducted, in addition to a digital rectal exam, urinalysis, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, ultrasound, x-ray, cystoscopy (camera attached to a tube that is inserted into the urethra) and/or urine flow tests.
Most prostate issues can be effectively treated through a variety of medical treatments, but it is crucial to see a doctor as soon as the symptoms are observed. BPH is commonly addressed through alpha blockers, enzyme inhibitors or a combination of the two, whereas prostatitis is treated with antibiotics when infection is the underlying cause of the inflammation.
Men who suffer from prostatitis or BPH are not more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, painful symptoms should be addressed promptly to rule out cancer or infection and to pursue the appropriate treatment.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Vox Efx
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