Increasing awareness about men’s health involves educating men about prostate health. Around 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
Although prostate cancer may be more likely to develop in certain men, such as men over the age of 65, it is still one of the most common cancers diagnosed in men. Therefore, the importance of prostate health is a grave public health concern.
There are a few specific prostate problems to consider when looking at the importance of prostate health. Continue reading to learn more about the prostate and what to look out for.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a gland that is unique to men only. It is about the size of a walnut or golf ball, and it plays a major role in the male reproductive system. The prostate helps produce the fluid that composes part of the semen.
The prostate gland is located in front of the rectum and right below the bladder. It also hugs the upper part of the urethra, which is a tubular structure responsible for transporting urine out of the body from the bladder. For this reason, problems with the prostate can affect both sexual and urinary functions.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Also known as BPH, benign prostatic hyperplasia is a common condition in older men. It affects about 50% of all men aged 51 to 60 years olds, and up to 90% of men aged 80 years and older have it. It is characterized by an enlarged prostate, which can make urination difficult. While the exact cause of BPH is not well known, it may be caused by hormonal changes that occur with age. As men age, testosterone levels decrease. Higher estrogen or DHT levels may be responsible for promoting cell growth in the prostate.
Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland. An infection or inflammation of the prostate can make it difficult or painful to urinate or ejaculate. Some men with prostatitis might not show symptoms. It is commonly caused by bacteria that has traveled from the urethra to the prostate.
Prostate cancer develops from the abnormal growth of cells in the prostate. Some men may be more prone to developing prostate cancer than others. For example, African American men are 75% more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men. Other risk factors may include family history, smoking, obesity, and other dietary or lifestyle habits.
Treatment for prostate conditions
Usually, the warning signs for prostate cancer are nonexistent or easy to miss. Guidelines recommend that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening be an individual choice for men ages 55 to 69. This is because PSA testing may only provide a small benefit for reducing the chances of death from prostate cancer. Men aged 70 years and older are not typically recommended to get PSA testing.
Treatment will depend on the prostate condition being treated. Certain medications, like alpha blockers, can help relax the bladder neck muscles in men with BPH. Medications like Hytrin (terazosin) or Flomax (tamsulosin) can help a man with BPH urinate more easily. Men with prostatitis might be prescribed an antibiotic if the condition is being caused by a bacteria. Chemotherapy is often the treatment of choice for men with prostate cancer.
Inside Rx can help
If you have been prescribed a medication to treat your prostate condition, it could get expensive. Inside Rx is a prescription discount card that could save you money on your prescription medications. Try the convenient online search tool to find all the medications you need at the pharmacies nearest to you. Simply type your medication in the search bar. Enter your zip code and compare prices at pharmacies near you! Then, show your prescription discount card at the pharmacy and see if you can save on your medicines.
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Prostate health is important for all men to avoid future health complications down the road. Be sure to get regular check ups with your doctor and adhere to any medical advice they provide. If you do have to take medication, Inside Rx is here to help! To learn more, visit our FAQs.