What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a small gland located in the pelvis between the penis and the bladder. It surrounds the urethra and can put pressure on it if prostate problems develop. Around the size of a walnut, the gland is only found in men and enlarges as you age.
The main function of the prostate is to produce a thick, white fluid that, when mixed with sperm produced by the testicles, creates semen.
What is Prostatitis?
When prostatitis occurs, your prostate gland becomes inflamed and swells. This can be painful and worrying. Unlike prostate cancer or prostate enlargement, prostatitis can affect men of all ages, however it usually develops in men aged 30 and 50. When symptoms come and go over a period of several months, this is referred to as chronic prostatitis.
What Causes Prostatitis?
The causes of chronic prostatitis remain unclear as signs of infection in the prostate gland cannot usually be found.
However, some risk factors include:
Having prostatitis in the past
Having painful abdominal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Age (30-50 years of age)
What are the Symptoms of Prostatitis?
Chronic prostatitis may have developed if you have had the following symptoms for at least three months:
Pain in or around your penis, anus, testicles, lower abdomen, or lower back
Pain during urination
Urge to urinate
An enlarged or tender prostate
Sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction, pelvic pain after sex, or pain in ejaculation.
Men with chronic prostatitis should try and focus on the relax part of their Kegel exercises in order to prevent further strain to their pelvic floor muscles.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of male cancer in the UK. Usually developing slowly so you are not aware for the first few years of its growth.
What is an Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate is medically referred to as a benign prostate enlargement (BPE). It is also known as a benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) . The condition is more common in men aged over 50 and usually isn't a serious threat.
As you age your risk of developing BPE increases. Men over 50 have a 50% chance of developing it, and 2 million men in UK are currently receiving treatment for it.
What Causes an Enlarged Prostate?
The cause on an enlarged prostate is unknown, however it is believed to be linked to hormonal changes within men as they age.
What are the Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate?
If the prostate has enlarged, it places pressure onto your bladder and urethra, affecting how you pass urine.
This may cause:
Difficulty starting to urine
Having a weak urine flow
Difficulty to fully empty your bladder
Pelvic floor muscle exercises (male kegels) can help to prevent incontinence as a side effect of having an enlarged prostate.
What is Prostate Cancer?
When cells in the prostate begin to grow in an uncontrolled manner, prostate cancer can develop. Prostate cancer often grows slowly to begin with, and may never cause you any problems. However, some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread, as a result they require treatment to prevent the spread of the dangerous cells.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
The direct causes of prostate cancer are widely unknown. Yet, there are certain things that can increase your risk of developing the condition. As you age, your chances of developing prostate cancer increase, with most cases developing in men aged 50 or over. This is because as men get older, their prostate gland enlarges. This is not normally due to prostate cancer, but rather the condition BPE.
What are the Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?
In the UK, 1 in 8 men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
Men over 50, men with a family history of prostate cancer, and men of African descent are more at risk of developing prostate cancer.
Some symptoms of prostate cancer include:
An increased need to urinate
Urgently needing to go to the toilet
Frequently needing to go to the toilet during the night (Nocturia)
Difficulty in starting to urinate (hesitancy)
A weak urine flow
Straining whilst you urinate
A feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied
Erection problems - though this is an uncommon symptom
Blood in urine, or blood in semen
Do not ignore these symptoms, if you are experiencing any of them. Although these may not mean that you have prostate cancer, they could be the cause of another non-cancerous condition, such as prostate enlargement (BPE). If you are worried about your risk, or find that you are experiencing the above symptoms, contact your GP.
The possible side effects that come with prostate cancer and its treatment can be embarrassing, and affect your confidence.
By completing male Kegels before and after your cancer treatment, you can help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. You can choose to do these manually or if your doctor permits, you can use an electonic pelvic toner for men.
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Original article: Kegel8 Website