The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland. This small gland sits in front of the rectum, between the bladder and the penis. This small but mighty gland’s main function is reproductive: it secretes a fluid that provides 30% of semen. The gland also helps to push the semen through the urethra during ejaculation.
Prostate infections: Causes and Symptoms
Prostate infection, also known as prostatitis, is a condition where the prostate gland and the areas around it become inflamed. For some, the infection is painful while others don’t seem to have painful symptoms at all. In the US, 2 million visits urologist visits are due to prostate infection.
There are 4 types of prostate infections or prostatitis.
Also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is the most common type of prostate infection. As of now, the cause of this chronic infection remains unknown.
Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis:
- Trouble starting urination
- Uneven urination flow
- Strong need to urinate
- Pain in the lower torso: lower back, the area between the tescles and the anus, above the pubic area or in the lower abdomen
Acute Bacterial Prostatitis
This bacterial infection is caused by different but common strains of bacteria. It happens when bacteria that is in your urine leaks into the prostate gland. It can also be caused by some common STI bacteria, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. This form of prostatitis can be treated with antibiotics.
- Bloody urine
- Pelvic pain
- Bad odour from urine
- Blood in semen
- Increase in urination
- Pain in the pubic area
- Uneven urination flow
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor immediately.
Chronic bacterial prostatitis
The symptoms for this are very similar to that of acute bacterial prostatitis. However, this type of bacterial infection re-occurs and some might not even have symptoms.
Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis
As the name suggests, people with asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis will not be in pain or show other physical symptoms. This is usually diagnosed during work-ups for infertility or testing for prostate cancer. It is diagnosed by the presence of infection-fighting cells in semen.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men or other people with a prostate gland. One in 7 men will be diagnosed with this cancer in their lifetime, according to Prostate Cancer Canada.
Prostate cancer, like other forms of cancer, is due to the unregulated growth and control of cells. In this case, it is cells in the prostate gland. It can present itself as in irregular mass or shape. However, not all masses are cancerous and if you notice anything out of the ordinary, you should consult with your doctor immediately.
Who’s at risk?
There is no singular cause behind this cancer, however some are at higher risk than others. Here are some of the risk factors:
- Age: The risk of prostate cancer rises after age 50. In fact, two-thirds of men diagnosed are above the age of 65.
- Family medical history: those with family members who have gotten prostate cancer are at a higher risk of getting it themselves.
- Diet: Research has shown that people with high-fat and low-fibre diets are at a higher risk of getting prostate cancer.
Keep in mind that you can still get prostate cancer, even if you do not have any of the risk factors listed above.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Some men do not exhibit these symptoms in the early stages, which can make it hard to diagnose. However, these are some symptoms to watch out for:
- Urge to pee frequently
- Interrupted urination flow
- The need to strain to empty bladder
- Blood in urine
- Blood in semen
- Sudden onset of erectile dysfunction
What to do:
The best way to be sure is to be aware of your body. If something feels wrong or different, see a doctor. It is also crucial that you go to a yearly check-up. Most of the time, the yearly checkup includes a prostate exam which can determine if there are any abnormalities that need further testing. There are plenty of other tests they can run if need be, please ask your doctor for more information.
Despite how common this cancer is among half the population, the 5-year survival rate is high. Research has shown that for men with localized prostate cancer, their 5-year survival rate is 100%. As with most health-related issues, the key is detecting it as soon as possible. Please visit your doctor if you exhibit any of the symptoms listed in this article and make sure you’re keeping up with your yearly visits.