Health & Wellness

Prostate health problems are common, especially as men age. They can also be treated, so talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Your prostate may very well be the last thing you want to think about when it comes to your health.

The prostate is a gland you want to just do its job and not cause any trouble. Unfortunately, there is a good chance you will have to deal with a prostate problem or two at some point.

A few things can affect the health of your prostate, from bacteria to aging. And when your prostate isn’t working right, the symptoms can be quite uncomfortable.

Here are three prostate health issues you should know about:

Enlargement

To some degree, a growing prostate is normal for men as they get older. For many older men, the prostate can become enlarged to the point that it causes bothersome symptoms. About 90 percent of men over age 80 have an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate is benign, but its symptoms can be uncomfortable and get worse over time. Symptoms include an urge to urinate, as well as trouble urinating. An enlarged prostate can become an emergency if it prevents urination entirely. Some patients with an enlarged prostate will just need observation. Medications can relax the bladder and improve urine flow, and more severe cases may need surgery.

Infection

While an enlarged prostate is common for older men, a swollen and inflamed prostate can happen at any age. The prostate gland can become infected by bacteria, causing an acute infection that needs prompt treatment. These acute infections can cause a high fever, pain, an urge to urinate, trouble urinating, and cloudy urine. Older men can have a chronic infection with milder symptoms that may get better, then return again off and on.

Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers for men, second only to skin cancer. It affects about one in nine men in the United States. When the cancer is caught early, before spreading outside the prostate, treatment is more successful. It is usually a slow-growing cancer, with a high survival rate. Signs of prostate cancer include trouble urinating, pelvic pain, erectile dysfunction and blood in semen.

“Although there is no known way to prevent prostate cancer, a healthy lifestyle may help,” says Jim Geddie, administrator at Temecula Healthcare Center. “Eat foods high in antioxidants and good fats, and exercise regularly to keep your body and prostate in good shape.”

Prostate health problems are common, especially as men age. They can also be treated, so talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Dr. Amy Osmond Cook is a health care technology consultant and VP of marketing at Simplus, a platinum Salesforce partner.