The prostate is an organ of the male reproductive system. It’s a small gland about the size of a walnut located between a man’s penis and bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. Its primary function is to produce the fluid which protects and feed the sperm and leaves the urethra as ejaculate (semen).
The prostate undergoes two main growth spurts. The first is fuelled by the sex hormones made by the testes during puberty. This growth spurt prompts the prostate to reach an average weight of 20 grams. The second growth spurt happens during the fourth decade of life
Prostate disease and ageing
Around 25% of men aged 55 years and over have a prostate condition. This increases to 50% by the age of 70 years.
A man in his 50s or 60s should discuss with his doctor whether to have his prostate gland checked and how often. For those men with a family history of prostate disease (or particular concerns), prostate checks might be considered earlier.
Types of prostate disease
The three most common forms of prostate disease are inflammation (prostatitis), non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) and prostate cancer. A man may experience one or more of these conditions.
Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis)
There are four types of prostatitis, including:
Acute bacterial prostatitis
Chronic bacterial prostatitis
Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), also called chronic non-bacterial prostatitis
Asymptomatic sterile pyuria
CPPS is the most common form of prostatitis and symptoms vary from one man to another. Possible causes of CPPS include:
A past bacterial prostatitis infection
Irritation from some chemicals
A problem with the nerves connecting the lower urinary tract
Problems with pelvic floor muscles
Chronic anxiety problems
Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate (BPH)
Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is more common as men get older. An obstruction is caused when the bladder neck and prostatic urethra fail to open properly as the bladder contracts during urination. Obstructions usually show up as lower urinary tract symptoms that sometimes result in the urine staying in the bladder when it’s supposed to be released.
This form of cancer is common in the over-65 age group and affects one in seven Australian men up to the age of 75. The cause remains unknown, although advancing age and family history are known to be contributing factors.
In the early stages, the cancer cells are confined to the prostate gland. With the more aggressive types of prostate cancer, cancer cells enter the vascular and lymphatic systems early and spread to other parts of the body where they develop secondary tumours, particularly in the bones.
Symptoms of prostate disease
In its earliest stages, prostate disease may or may not be associated with symptoms. The symptoms of prostate disease depend in the condition, but may include:
Difficulties urinating, such as trouble starting the flow of urine
The urge to urinate often, particularly at night
Feeling as though the bladder can’t be fully emptied
Blood in the urine or blood exiting from the urethra independent of urination
Blood in the urine is often due to causes not related to the prostate. Always see your doctor if you find blood in your urine.
How can Naturally Dynamic Health Help?
There are also some supplements that may nourish and protect the prostate gland, please see you healthcare professional about these options.