With aging comes hormonal change. As a result, men can experience swelling of the prostate – the walnut-sized gland surrounding the urethra. This, in turn, can lead to frequent or difficult urination. An enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is the most common prostate health problem faced by men ages 50 and up. Not to be confused with Prostatitis (an inflammation of the prostate caused by an infection – most common in men under 50), approximately half of all 50-year-old men have begun to develop BPH – and by 80, 90% of all men have BPH.

Treatments

Certainly not fatal, there are a variety of treatments for BPH. If symptoms are mild, simply keeping an eye on any changes with regular checkups can help monitor and contain them. If symptoms are moderate, alpha-blocker drugs can be prescribed to relax the muscles around the prostrate, or a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor drug can effectively shrink the prostate. In severe cases, heat treatments such as microwave therapy, radiofrequency therapy, electrovaporization and laser therapy, or open surgery may be recommended to reduce the size of the prostate. Regardless of which treatment option might work best for your symptoms, an enlarged prostate can be managed so that your daily routine is not disturbed.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer, on the other hand, is the most widespread cancer – and the second leading killer of men, next to lung cancer. Detected early, prostate cancer can be cured. However, with similar symptoms to BPH and Prostatitis, prostate cancer can be difficult to diagnose. By the time one is seeing blood in the urine or experiencing chronic pain in the hips, thighs, or lower back, it could be too late to extricate the cancer. It is crucial to visit your doctor to receive annual screenings after the age of 40.

Prevention

Even though an enlarged prostate is inevitable, prostate cancer is preventable. Drink plenty of water to flush out the bladder and limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. Saying no to smoking as well as keeping a diet low in fat with regular exercise goes without saying. Studies have shown a high fat diet and obesity increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Finally, there’s one more prevention tip you may not expect: have more sex. That’s right, having sex on a consistent basis is the best way to empty the prostate.

Information taken from: www.prostatehealthguide.com

 

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living