Prostate Facts

Prostate facts

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Only men have a prostate gland. The prostate is usually the shape and size of a walnut. It lies underneath the bladder and surrounds the tube (Urethra) through which men pass urine and semen. The prostate gland’s main job is to make some of the fluid (semen) that carries sperm.

 

 The three most common prostate problems are:

  • A benign enlarged prostate – this is the most common prostate problem known as benign prostatic hypertrophy.
  • Prostatitis – an inflammation or infection of the prostate
  • Prostate cancer

 

Enlarged Prostate

What is in Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)?

Benign Prosthetic Hypertrophy (BPH) is the medical term used to describe an enlarged prostate. It means non- cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.

An enlarged prostate is common for men over the age of about 50.  In some cases it squeezes the urethra which can slow down or stop the flow of your urine.   About 4 out of every 10 men over the age of 50 (40%) and 3 our of 4 men in their 70s (75%) have urinary symptoms that are caused by an enlarged large prostate. 

What are the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy?

  • A weak flow of urine
  • needing to urinate more often especially at night
  • a feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly
  • dribbling urine
  • difficulty starting to urinate
  • needing to rush to the toilet – you may occasionally leak urine before you get there

You may only have a few of the symptoms or you may not have any, but without treatment some find that the symptoms of an enlarged prostate slowly get worse.

The symptoms can be caused by other medical problems, lifestyle factors or certain medicines,.  They may be nothing to do with the prostate.  If you have any of the symptoms above you should contact us for an appointment. 

Prostatitis 

Prostatitis can be caused by either an infection or an inflammation of the prostate,   It is NOT a form of cancer. 

Prostatitis can cause a wide variety of symptoms, which differ from man to man and include:-

  • Fever, malaise, muscle and joint pains.
  • Urinary frequency, urgency, pain when passing urine, passing urine more often at night.
  • Low back pain, low abdominal pain, perineal pain and pain int he urethra.  In chronic (long standing) prostatitis the most consistent finding is that of chronic pelvic pain.
  • Pain on ejaculation is commonly reported
  • Urethral discharge

Our consultants are very experienced in diagnosing and managing this common urological problem. 

Prostate Cancer 

Prostate cancer can develop when cells start to grow in an uncontrolled way, if this happens in the prostate then prostate cancer can develop.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. 

Who is at risk of prostate cancer?

In the United Kingdom, 13% (1 in 8) men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Your risk increases with age, the average age for men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer is between 70 and 74 years, if you are under 50, the risk of you getting prostate cancer is very low.

You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has been diagnosed with it, compared to a man with no effective relatives.

The risk also increases if you have close relatives with breast cancer.

Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than men of other ethnic backgrounds. In the United Kingdom, about one in four black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives, the reasons for this not clear that might be linked to genes.

Prostate cancer can grow slowly or very quickly. Most prostate cancer is slow growing to start with and may never cause any symptoms or problems in a man’s lifetime.  But some men will have cancer that is more aggressive or ‘high risk’.  This needs treatment to help prevent or delay it spreading outside the prostate.

Most men with early prostate cancer do not have any symptoms.

There are several treatments available for prostate cancer.  These will be discussed with the Urologist.

If you have the following symptoms, of if you think you may be more at risk of prostate cancer, you may want to get further advice or a check-up.

  • Needing to pass urine more often, especially at night.
  • Difficulty in starting to urinate
  • Straining or taking a long time to finish urinating
  • A weak flow when you urinate
  • A feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly
  • Need to rush to the toilet, you may occasionally leak before you get there
  • Dribbling urine

How we deal with your symptoms at the Thornhill clinic

Our Urologists may conduct several tests and you may be asked to keep a diary for the amount of fluid you drink over a few days.

We may want to check your urine for blood and we will also carry out a urine flow test, followed by a Bladder Scan.

You may be offered a PSA blood test, this is a Prostate Specific Antigen test. PSA is protein produced by the cells in the prostate gland. An enlarged prostate, prostatitis and prostate cancer can cause the PSA level in the blood to rise.   A PSA test alone cannot tell you whether you have prostate cancer.

Worried about going to the GP? Urologist?

Some men worry about going to see the GP or Urologist because they do not want to have intimate examinations, or think that the tests could be painful.  It is natural to feel embarrassed, however at the Thornhill Clinic all our doctors and staff are sensitive to everyone’s needs and we will do our best to put you at ease. 


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