What Are Some Common Prostate Problems?

What Are Some Common Prostate Problems?

Prostate problems are fairly common in men of all ages, and they are especially common in older men. Prostate problems can range from simple inflammation to cancer. It is important to have a basic understanding of the possible problems that can develop in the prostate.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH. Wikimedia Commons

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or "enlarged prostate" is a condition that can cause many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer.  BPH is a non-cancerous increase in the size and number of cells that make up the prostate.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most dangerous prostate problem, but it can cause the same symptoms as any other prostate problem at first. Oftentimes, prostate cancer is diagnosed before any symptoms are noticed.

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate — a small gland that makes seminal fluid. It is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows over time and in the beginning usually stays within the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer that is caught early has a better chance of successful treatment.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer that is more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Older age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age.
  • Race. Black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In black men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
  • Family history of prostate or breast cancer. If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
  • Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that's more difficult to treat.

Complications From Prostate Cancer

Complications of prostate cancer and its treatments include:

  • Cancer that spreads (metastasizes). Prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs, or through your bloodstream or lymphatic system to your bones or other organs. If prostate cancer travels to other areas of the body, it can be controlled but is unlikely to be cured.
  • Incontinence. Both prostate cancer and its treatment can cause urinary incontinence. Treatment options include medications, catheters and surgery.
  • Erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can be a result of prostate cancer or its treatment, including surgery, radiation or hormone treatments. Medications, vacuum devices that assist in achieving erection and surgery are available to treat erectile dysfunction.

Acute Prostatitis

Prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate, can develop quickly and cause severe symptoms. This is an important prostate problem that many men don't know much about. Read more here.

Chronic Prostatitis

Prostatitis can also be a problem that lasts for many months and causes intermittent or low-grade symptoms. This type of prostatitis, chronic prostatitis, is also an important prostate problem of which men should be aware.

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