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Problems of the Prostate Gland

1. What is prostate gland?

  • It is part of the male reproductive system.
  • It is about the size of a chestnut.
  • It surrounds the urethra and lies in the pelvic cavity. Ejaculatory ducts pass through the prostate gland and open into the urethra.
  • Its growth & function is affected by male hormones.
  • Its produces a fluid to help maintain the semen alkaline. Its fibrous tissues control the flow of urine and semen.

2. Benign prostatic hypertrophy

  • Common in male aged 60 and above
  • Enlargement of the prostate gland results in compression of the urethra and causes obstruction to the flow of urine.
  • Symptoms and outcomes:
    • Urinary hesitancy and difficulty in passing urine
    • Weak stream and dripping of urine
    • Frequency of urine
    • Higher risk of bacterial infection of the urinary tract (including bladder, ureter or kidney)
    • In some cases, it may cause bladder stone formation or renal failure
  • Treatment:
    • Seek medical advice when there is difficulty or pain on passing urine. Doctor will arrange appropriate investigation and treatment.
    • Treatment may vary according to the situation, and may include medications, surgery or laser therapy. Aim of treatment is to relieve obstruction of urine and reduce the chance of complications.
    • Some clients may need catheterization to solve the problem of urinary obstruction.

3. Prostate Cancer/Prostatic Carcinoma

  • More common in those above the age of 50 and the chance of having the disease increases with age
  • Associated factors:
    • ageing
    • race (higher risk in Caucasians than in Asians)
    • male hormone secretion (90% of prostate cancers are male hormone dependent)
    • high fat diet
    • long term contact with harmful substances that may induce cancer
    • heredity
  • Symptoms:
    • No specific symptoms in early stage. As the disease progresses, there may be urinary frequency, difficulty in passing in urine, or blood stained urine. If the cancer spread to the pelvic cavity, it may cause pelvic pain or backache.
  • Treatment
    • Depending on the patient's situation, choices include surgery, radiotherapy or hormonal suppression therapy, etc.

4. Be alert of urinary problems:

  • There are many causes of urinary problems which are not due to prostatic disease. Seek medical advice as soon as possible if the following problems occur:
    • Blood in urine or pain on passing urine
    • Sense of incomplete emptying of bladder after urination
    • Dripping of urine
    • Urinary frequency and passing small amount of urine each time, affecting daily activities, e. g. frequency at night that disturbs sleep
    • Increasing difficulty in passing urine