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Take care of your prostate

Men over 40 should get their prostate checked annually to prevent cancer

By Sudhir Rawal, urogenital oncology specialist

Prostate health complications are among the most common urological conditions affecting men worldwide. Common disorders associated with the prostate gland include prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate gland, benign Prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer.

Prostatitis: 
This is the inflammation of the prostate gland in men between 30  to 50 years, often caused by bacterial infections caused by anything from bladder infections, STD, frequent unprotected sex, alcohol, spicy foods, and injury to the lower pelvis. Symptoms include fever, chills, lower backache, fatigue, frequent or painful urination, painful ejaculation, occasional discomfort in the testicles, and bloody ejaculation.

Most cases of prostatitis can be treated with timely diagnosis. If ignored, it can become a debilitating chronic disorder and may not respond to treatment.   

The Indian Cancer Society recommends annual screening as a necessary preventive health measure. It is especially advisable for men above the age of 40 years to visit their doctor to have their prostate examined. 

Benign prostatic hyperplasia: 
BPH is the medical term for an enlarged prostate and symptoms include increase in urinary frequency, urgency, nocturia, poor stream, hesitancy, straining and dribbling. 

BPH is a progressive disease. Incomplete urination or voiding can cause bacterial infection in the bladder and urinary tract infection. Residual urine can cause urinary bladder stones. Chronic urinary retention may lead to renal failure. BPH may also manifest in the form of frequent blood in the urine. 

Since BPH is a chronic disorder, it is important to take medications for a long duration. Surgery includes removal of the enlarged part of the gland from inside the urethra. Lifestyle changes include appropriate fluid intake, reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption and following a timed voiding pattern.

Most prostate cancers are slow-growing. The cancer may spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, or erectile dysfunction. 

Detected early, prostate cancer is potentially curable. The PSA test increases cancer detection rates. The choice of treatment is usually based on the stage and aggressiveness of the disease. 

Surgery offers the additional benefit of alleviation of prostatic symptoms and makes follow-up easier. Surgery can be done by open, laparoscopic or the robotic way. 

Article Courtesy: Times Wellness

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