By Dr. David Sandock, MD, Urology, Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Ozaukee.
That’s a fantastic question. With June being National Men’s Health Month, there is no better time to explore the topic of prostate health.
Obviously, when it comes to the prostate, cancer is the big one, affecting one in six men. But there are a host of less serious prostate ailments that should not be taken lightly.
BPH is when your prostate is enlarged, but not cancerous. This is very common in men as they get older and may cause difficulties with urination. Men with BPH may have to urinate more often and urgently. In addition, it may be harder to start urinating or to empty the bladder completely. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to visit your doctor for an exam. The treatment options depend on the severity of the symptoms. There are medications that can relax or shrink the prostate or, for more serious or resistant cases, surgery is an option. BPH can also sometimes be treated with radio or microwaves, or even lasers. Your doctor will recommend which treatment method is appropriate.
This is a bacterial infection that can cause fever, chills, pain while urinating or blood in your urine. If you experience any of these, see your doctor immediately so he or she can prescribe an antibiotic to clear up the infection. There is also a chronic form of bacterial prostatitis, which is when the infection continues to come back. Though rare, this condition can be difficult to treat – long-term antibiotics have been shown to be effective.
Often called Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS), this is another common prostate problem. CPPS can cause pain at the tip of the penis, in the groin area and the lower back as well as pain while ejaculating. Some men also report more frequent urges to urinate while only a small amount is released. Treatment for CPPS often includes a combination of mediation, surgery and lifestyle changes.
I know you said “aside from cancer,” but I really would be remiss not to
touch on the subject briefly. Every year, more than 230,000 men
will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. There are no early signs of
prostate cancer, so getting regular checkups (blood test and exam) can
help to catch the disease early, when it is more treatable. Men at high
risk for prostate cancer should begin receiving an annual prostate exam
at age 40 (those not high risk should start at age 45-50). Talk with
your doctor about your risk factors and together come up with a strategy
to help keep you healthy.
This article appeared in the June 17 issue of The Ozaukee News Graphic.