040121 Prostate Problems 1 of 3
On this page:
Stan just found out that a friend has prostate cancer. Many men he knows have prostate problems. He’s worried that this might happen to him.
It’s true that prostate problems are common after age 50. The good news is there are many things you can do.
What Is the Prostate?
The prostate is a small gland in men that helps make semen. Located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, it wraps around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. It tends to grow larger as you get older. If your prostate gets too large, it can cause a number of health issues.
Here are some examples of non-cancer prostate problems:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is very common in older men. It means your prostate is enlarged but not cancerous. Treatments for BPH include:
- Watchful waiting, also called active surveillance. If your symptoms are not too bad, your doctor may tell you to wait to see if they get worse before starting treatment. Your doctor will tell you how often to return for check-ups.
- Medications. Medicines can help shrink the prostate or relax muscles near your prostate to ease symptoms.
- Surgery. If nothing else has worked, your doctor may suggest surgery to help urine flow.
- Other treatments. Sometimes radio waves, microwaves, or lasers are used to treat urinary problems caused by BPH. These methods use different kinds of heat to reduce extra prostate tissue.
Acute bacterial prostatitis usually starts suddenly from a bacterial infection. See your doctor right away if you have fever, chills, or pain in addition to prostate symptoms. Most cases can be cured with antibiotics. You also may need medication to help with pain or discomfort.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an infection that comes back again and again. This rare problem can be hard to treat. Sometimes, taking antibiotics for a long time may work. Talk with your doctor about other things you can do to help you feel better.
Chronic prostatitis, also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is a common prostate problem. It can cause pain in the lower back, in the groin, or at the tip of the penis. Treatment may require a combination of medicines, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about the possible side effects of treatment.