If you're a man, here are three conditions that may affect your prostate as you age.
When it comes to health issues that men are concerned about, prostate problems rank high on the list. Prostate issues can affect men at any age, but the risk increases with age. Although prostate cancer is of course a concern for men, there are other benign prostate issues that are more common that may cause pain and discomfort.
Here are 3 of the most common prostate problems affecting men:
For many men, the prostate—a small walnut-shaped gland located next to the bladder— will enlarge as they age. This condition is referred to as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). By age 70, 90 percent of men will have BPH. As the prostate enlarges, it will start to compress the urethra. This affects urination and causes the following symptoms:
- Taking longer to urinate due to a weak stream
- Having a hard time when starting to urinate
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Dribbling urine after urinating
If BPH is not treated, the bladder may retain urine. This can cause it to leak, causing incontinence. Medication may be used to improve urinary flow and relax the bladder.
This condition is the most common prostate problem affecting men under the age of 50. It causes the prostate to be inflamed. The inflammation may cause the following symptoms:
- Pain in the genitals, lower abdomen or lower back
- Pain or difficulty urinating
- Frequent urination
- Incomplete bladder emptying
The condition may come and go quickly or symptoms may last, resulting in a chronic condition. Treatments for prostatitis may vary, depending on the cause of the inflammation. If left untreated, the condition may lead to sexual dysfunction, inflammation of the genitals or an infection that affects the whole body.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting men after skin cancer. The risk increases with age and about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
The majority of men who are diagnosed with this form of cancer will not die from it and treatment often leads to negative side effects, including erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder control. This has led to differences of opinion about routine prostate screenings for men. It is recommended that men between the ages of 55 and 69 talk to their doctor about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening. If it is determined that prostate cancer screening is the right option for you, the screening may be performed using a blood test called the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and/or a digital rectal exam.
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Date Last Reviewed: July 19, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD