Dr. Adam Rosenfeld
Purely a male problem, prostate issues vary from a minor annoyance to a major
health concern. The prostate is a gland located near the bladder and is
responsible for part of a male's sexual function.
The most common problem men develop in the prostate is called benign prostatic hypertrophy
(commonly known as enlargement of the prostate). This starts to happen to men
in their late 40's or early 50's. If you're in this age group and you are
getting up to urinate more often than you used too at night then you might have
an enlarged prostate. This is easily diagnosed at a doctor''s visit and is
easily treatable with medication.
Prostatitis is a, sometimes chronic, infection and inflammation of the
prostate. This condition can be difficult to treat and usually requires an
extended course of antibiotics. Symptoms you might experience with prostatitis
would be rectal pain, urinary discomfort, pressure in the bladder, burning on
urination as well as a variety of other symptoms.
Cancer is the problem we really worry about when it comes to the prostate. To
screen for prostate cancer you should see your doctor for a yearly physical to
have a PSA (blood test) and a rectal exam. This should start at age 40 or 50.
The age you start having screening is doctor dependent.
Recently, the PSA has become somewhat controversial in that there can be false
positives leading to unnecessary procedures. Most primary care providers
continue to order this test regularly because there is no better alternative
and cases of advanced cancer would be missed if this test was not ordered.
Contrary to popular belief, the prostate is not responsible for decreased
sexual desire or erectile dysfunction. Prostate cancer is usually asymptomatic
at diagnosis. Therefore, screening is crucial.
Like most issues, the key to diagnosis and treatment is seeing your doctor at
least yearly. If you have not been seen in the last year, schedule your