What is the Prostate?
The prostate is an organ located in the pelvis below the bladder and in front of the rectum that is an integral part of the reproductive and urinary tract. Prostate health is very important for different reasons as we age. Early in life, it is necessary for reproductive health. The prostate produces fluid that makes of approximately 80% of one’s ejaculate. This fluid contains nutrients and enzymes that are necessary for fertilization to occur in the female reproductive tract. The quality, volume, and composition can be effected in many different ways and lead to male factor infertility. Please see our section on infertility for more information regarding this issue.
What Is An Enlarged Prostate?
As we age, the incidence of prostate enlargement or BPH and prostate cancer increase. BPH or Benign Prostatic hypertrophy is enlargement of the prostate affecting how one urinates. This enlargement occurs in the area of the prostate, called the transition zone, that contains the prostatic urethra or the channel where urine flows. This can lead to physical obstruction resulting in debilitating urinary symptoms that can drastically impact one’s quality of life. A few symptoms include weakening of urinary stream, pushing to urinate, stopping and starting of urinary flow, and incomplete emptying. See our BPH section for more detail etiology, diagnosis, and management.
Another component of prostate health is monitoring for prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screening & Treatment
As we get older, the incidence of prostate cancer increases. It is the number one cancer diagnosis in men and the number two cause of death. In a vast majority of cases, prostate cancer is curable if caught in a timely fashion. This is accomplished through screening. “Prostate Cancer Screening,” includes a periodic blood test and physical exams based on age and individual risk factors for prostate cancer such as family history. If an abnormality is appreciated. A prostate biopsy could be recommended. The goal of screening is to make the diagnosis early in the disease process giving you the best chance at a cure. Please see our Prostate Cancer section for a more in-depth discussion about diagnosis and treatment.
How Do You Improve Overall Prostate Health?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been shown to not only decrease the risk of prostate enlargement but also decrease the risk of prostate cancer. This includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. Studies have shown that diets rich in fruits/vegetables with moderate animal protein intake is believed to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate health is an important aspect of one’s overall health throughout their lifetime. It is important that if issues arise, you seek the care from our Board Certified Urologist at the Mciver Clinic.