We men ignore a lot of our health issues, but one health issue you should pay attention to is prostate problems.
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and the health of your prostate is important to a man’s sexual health. Ignoring the tell-tail signs of prostate problems can have major health concerns as you get older.
I’ve teamed up with Prostate Cancer UK to provide accurate information within this article to help build more of an awareness of prostate problems.
What is a prostate
If you don’t already know what a prostate is, then you should. The prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system. It’s a gland, located in the lower abdominal cavity, just below the bladder, and in front of the rectum, and behind the pubic bone. It’s pretty tucked away! It partially surrounds the urethra. (For the none medically minded, that’s your pee pipe). The urethra is the tube or channel that carries urine to the penis from the bladder and it runs right through the middle of the prostate. A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut and weighs about 1 ounce.
Who has a prostate
There are a few people who have a prostate, they are:
- Trans women
- Non-binary people who were assigned male at birth
- Some intersex people.
The information within this article has been given based on information and evidence in men. If you are a trans woman, male-assigned non-binary, or intersex, parts of this information is still very relevant to you – but your experiences may differ slightly. Prostate Cancer UK has further information on their website for trans women and prostate cancer.
What does a prostate do
Ok, we’re going to get a little graphic here, but it’s medically factual. To understand what possible concerns to look out for you need to understand its function.
The most important function of the prostate is the production of prostate fluid, which, together with sperm cells from the testicles and fluids from other glands, makes up semen.
During ejaculation, the sperm move from the testes via tubes called vas deferens into the area of your prostate. The prostate muscles then contract and close off the opening between the urethra and the bladder. This, in turn, causes the semen to be propelled through the urethra during ejaculation.
Now you know what the prostate does, where it is and why you have one, lets look at what problems may occur.
Men, let’s be truthful, we tend to ignore a lot of our health issues, but we really shouldn’t. If you’re aged around 40 or above you really should take note of what your body is telling you. For example, if you have been for a pee and it burns, you’ll probably just think, “ow that hurt a bit”. Or, you may think you might have a bit of a water infection. But if it’s regular, you should get yourself to a GP and get it checked out. It may be a sign of an enlarged prostate or worse.
Signs of prostate problems
There are a few signs that could indicate possible prostate problems. These may not be of any concern, but its always worth getting yourself checked out. Some of these signs, according to the NHS, include, but are not limited to:
- Finding it difficult to start peeing
- Straining to pee
- Having a weak flow of urine
- “stop-start” peeing
- The need to pee urgently and/or frequently
- Needing to get up frequently in the night to pee
- Accidentally leaking urine (urinary incontinence)
Other signs of possible prostate problems are the inability to gain an erection (Erectile dysfunction) and problems ejaculating.
Types of prostate disease
There are three common forms of prostate disease. A man can experience one or more of these conditions.
Prostatitis is a non-cancerous condition. It is identified as an infection or inflammation of the prostate gland. Prostatitis can affect men of any age, it’s more common in younger men though, aged between 30 and 50.
Four main types of prostatitis have been identified as:
- Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)
- Acute bacterial prostatitis
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
Further information on prostatitis can be found on the Prostate Cancer UK‘s website.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia(BPH)
When the cells increase within the prostate, they cause the prostate to enlarge. This is abbreviated as BPH. Benign, meaning none cancerous. Prostatic, meaning prostate, and Hyperplasia, meaning an increase in the number of cells.
An enlarged prostate is not uncommon in men over the age of about 50. However, not all men with an enlarged prostate will get any symptoms. But, as the prostate grows, it can cause the urethra to become narrow because it pushes on the outside of the urethral channel. This can affect the flow of urine or even stop the flow altogether.
Roughly 1 in 3 men over the age of 50 have urinary symptoms, caused by an enlarged prostate.
Sadly, we all know what cancer is. But to be specific, it is a collection of cells that grow uncontrollably, can spread, and can, unfortunately, cause death.
Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way.
Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and don’t cause any problems or affect your length of life. Many men with prostate cancer will never need any treatment. But some prostate cancers can grow very quickly. Because of this, it’s more likely to spread. It is likely to cause problems and will need treatment to stop it from spreading.
Research shows, prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and your risk increases with age. That risk is even higher if you are a male of mixed black ethnicity and men with a family history of prostate cancer. Sadly roughly 11,500 men die from prostate cancer each year.
How to keep your prostate happy
Right, so you’ve read all of the facts, you know what a prostate does and now you want to make sure you don’t have any prostate problems. Unfortunately, no one knows what causes prostate problems or prostate cancer and these cant be categorically prevented. But many researchers have determined certain things that can help keep your prostate healthy. And it’s not as simple as just keeping an eye on your peeing activity.
- Stop smoking. This one is a given. Smoking increases your risk of cancers throughout your body. Although no there is no research to prove smoking causes prostate cancer, you may be more likely to get an aggressive type of prostate cancer that is more likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body.
- Eat healthily. Eat plenty of fruit and veg that contain loads of natural antioxidants. They help your body fight cancer-causing oxidants
- Excercise. Great for your entire body and mind. It releases tension, decreases stress. It also keeps your hormone levels healthy and improves immune functionality. Mini resistance exercise is a great route to take. It’s basically strength training, it improves muscle strength and can decrease fatigue. Think of it as kegel exercise for your prostate.
- Get frisky. You may have heard that too much masturbation or sex can increase your chances of getting prostate cancer, but this hasn’t been proven and much research is still going on into whether it has a positive or negative effect. So there’s no reason to stop your ‘Richard’ from getting some action.
Prostate health is nothing to ignore. The health of your prostate should be one of the most important concerns for men, and we should have it checked for good health regularly, after a certain age. Natural prostate health is a common choice for many men to take. Natural health is about taking care of your body as a whole.
We can’t change our age but we can change our habits.
As you get older, keep an eye out for those tell-tail signs, and don’t be afraid to go to your GP or talk to Prostate Cancer UK’s nursing team, who can provide you with advice and guidance.