Wisdom. Respect. Success. Confidence. Humility. There are many great things that come with age. But for many men, there’s an unwelcome (and very common) condition that is brought on by the passing years: enlarged prostate which can lead to prostate cancer.
Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlarged prostate affects about 50% of men over age 50 with rates that continue to soar with age.
The prostate is an important gland in the male reproductive system. It surrounds the urethra where it joins the bladder. During a man’s life, the prostate gland experiences two main growth periods – the first during puberty and the second beginning around age 25 and continuing with age.
It’s during this second growth phase where BPH occurs. If left untreated, this condition can significantly affect a man’s health and quality of life.
Symptoms of BPH
As the prostate gland enlarges, it can collapse on the urethra, narrowing it and obstructing the flow of urine from the bladder. This can cause the bladder to thicken, weaken and not empty adequately. As a result, many men experience these symptoms:
• Urinary incontinence
• Frequent or urgent urination
• Recurring urinary tract infections
• Disrupted sleep
• General discomfort
• Sexual dysfunction
• More serious complications such as kidney failure
Inability to empty the bladder well creates chronic pressure that can build up, which is ultimately transmitted to the kidneys. Over time, this can lead to renal failure.
There are multiple treatment options for BPH, many of which do not require surgery. Treatments range from medications to in-office procedures, and new therapies are being developed all the time. Surgical intervention might be required if the prostate has grown very large. Choosing the right treatment for each individual is key to quicker recovery and better quality of life.
It’s important to screen for all conditions affecting the prostate, including BPH and, especially, prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men after skin cancer, but there are many options if caught early.
Most prostate cancers don’t show symptoms until it’s more advanced. Those symptoms can include problems urinating, blood in the urine or semen, erectile dysfunction, and pain and weakness in the body. Because these symptoms can also indicate other health issues, prostate cancer screenings are vitally important. If it’s caught early, it’s highly treatable and beatable.
Prostate cancer screening involves the standard digital rectal exam and the PSA blood test. This simple blood test detects PSA, a substance made by the prostate gland. When there’s a problem with the prostate, it starts to release extra PSA. If PSA levels keep increasing over time, you may be at a higher prostate cancer risk or need more testing. It’s important to remember that increased PSA levels are not always cancer; they could also indicate BPH.
About Dr. Silva
Dr. Jose Silva is a board-certified urologist who practices in Apopka and Winter Garden. He is West Orange’s go-to expert for prostate care and all other urologic needs. Se Habla Español. To get more information, visit YourCentralFloridaDoctor.com/Urology or call 407-609-7391.