By the age of 60 years, 50% of men in India are likely to develop Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
When it comes to one's health, awareness plays a vital role in preventing diseases and their effective management. It is no different with the Prostate gland in men. From prostate cancer to prostate enlargement, diseases related to this gland can prove to be life-altering. Such conditions make it essential to understand the significance of this gland and its potential impact on a man's health.
This guide will introduce you to what is prostate, its different types of associated conditions, and the signs and symptoms of Prostate disease. Don't worry, I will also give you some practical tips to reduce the risk of prostate-related diseases.
What is the Prostate gland?
The reproductive anatomy of men contains a small organ known as the Prostate gland. It is a small, soft gland between the bladder and the penis. Weighing around 30 grams, it is usually as small as a ping-pong ball or a walnut. The prostate gland also affects urine flow as the urethra passes through it.
Although the Prostate gland is not significant for life, it plays a crucial role in fertility. Its job is to contribute prostatic fluid to semen. It provides around 20-30% of fluid to the total semen volume, which contains several components that make semen ideal for sperm to live in. Prostatic fluid supports the sperm to travel down the urethra easily. It makes the semen more fluid and helps it survive its journey toward an egg by counteracting the acidity of the vagina.
Another function of the prostate gland is to close the urethra during ejaculation. This prevents simultaneous urination and ejaculation. It converts testosterone hormone into its biologically active form. This active form is necessary for secondary sexual characteristics in males.
What are the different types of Prostate diseases?
Prostatitis, non-cancerous Prostate enlargement (BPH), and cancer are the most common Prostate diseases. Let me explain each of them briefly.
As the name suggests, inflammation of the Prostate gland is known as Prostatitis. It can be seen in men of any age group, being the most common in young men between the ages of 30 to 50 years. Prostatitis can be distressing and painful, but it gets better with time. It is categorized into chronic and acute Prostatitis. The acute condition develops suddenly while chronic Prostatitis develops over several years and lasts longer.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
The non-cancerous enlargement of the Prostate gland results in BPH. Its prevalence increases as men get older, but it is not life-threatening. However, it might affect the quality of life. As the urethra passes through it, Prostate enlargement narrows this urine-passing tube, obstructing urine flow. It can lead to urine accumulation in the bladder. The condition causes pain in acute cases, while in chronic retention, it can even cause damage to kidney function.
The cause of cancer in this gland remains unknown. However, family history and advancing age are reported to be two of the contributing factors. The early stages keep the cancer cells confined to the Prostate gland. However, with time it gets aggressive. It spreads the cells to lymphatic and vascular systems and other body parts. This results in secondary tumor developments, particularly in bones.
What are some signs and symptoms of prostate disease?
To prevent diseases of the prostate gland or to manage them effectively, simply knowing about the gland is not enough. One must also know the signs and symptoms of various Prostate diseases to consult with a doctor and go for a Prostate exam at the right time. Below are some of the most common ones that indicate an illness in the Prostate Gland.
A feeling of a full bladder or that the bladder is not being emptied completely
Frequent urination urge, especially during the night
Facing trouble with urine flow, like difficulties with starting urine flow
Blood in urine or independent bleeding from the urethra without urine
The next section of this guide will introduce you to some of the most effective tips for preventing Prostate diseases.
How to prevent Prostate disease?
Several tips, as listed below, can help lower the risk of Prostate disease. However, it is essential to understand that these tips cannot prevent Prostate disease.
They can only reduce the risk of their development.
Include red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and watermelons in your diet.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes must be consumed regularly.
Green tea and isoflavone-containing foods like lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and soy products are also recommended. They lower the risk of developing Prostate disease.
Research suggests that 4-5 cups of daily coffee consumption can decrease the risk of cancer of the Prostate gland.
Regular exercise is also necessary for good health maintenance and lowering the Prostate disease risk & the diet must contain limited fat intake.
A person with a family history of Prostate disease must consult a doctor to know specific foods to avoid.
Avoiding excessive smoking is also suggested to reduce the risk of developing these diseases.
Numerous individuals stay unaware of the Prostate gland as it is not a life-supporting organ. It primarily performs functions affecting fertility. However, this needs to change, and people must understand what this gland is, its functions, and the related diseases. If it does not function efficiently due to an illness, it can result in life-altering experiences and even threaten life. Familiarising with its basics can assist an individual in taking control of their health. Additionally, knowing the signs and symptoms of these diseases helps in early checkups and diagnosis, preventing further deterioration of the condition.
That's all from me today.
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Until next time.
The Author : Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr. Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.