WHEN SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT...

Dealing With Problems of the Prostate

Nov. 12, 2019

This is part two of a two-part series on common urologic conditions that affect men.

Urology problems in men can range from mild inconveniences to life-threatening conditions. Knowing your risk factors and symptoms may help you avoid serious health problems.

Common urologic conditions affecting men include:

Erectile dysfunction (ED)

Difficulty getting and maintaining an erection is known as erectile dysfunction, or ED. Experiencing ED periodically is typically nothing to worry about, but if it happens frequently, talk to your doctor, as it could be a sign of other health problems.

“Many factors can contribute to ED, including high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and prostate cancer,” says Dr. Bayo Tojuola, urologist at Houston Methodist. “There are also psychological causes, including stress, depression and anxiety.

When it come to treating ED, options range from medication to testosterone replacement. In severe cases, surgical options, including penile pumps and implants, and blood vessel surgery may be needed.

Tips for preventing erectile dysfunction:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get screened regularly for high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink alcohol in moderation (two drinks a day) or not at all

 

Prostatitis

An inflammation of the prostate caused by a bacterial infection, prostatitis is a common condition that can lead to difficulty passing urine, sexual problems and more.

Depending on whether prostatitis is acute or more chronic in nature, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory medication and medication that relaxes muscle tissue to ease urine flow.

It's unknown whether prostatitis is preventable, but see your doctor promptly if you have symptoms. In addition, drinking plenty of water and avoiding bladder irritants, such as alcohol or caffeine, may help.

Prostate cancer

For most men, prostate cancer — a slow-growing cancer that develops in the prostate gland — will never cause symptoms or pose a health risk. However, symptoms such as a frequent urge to urinate (especially at night), pain when urinating or blood in urine or semen, may signal an advanced stage of prostate cancer.

The treatment options for prostate cancer depend on where the cancer is located, as well as if it has spread and your age and overall health.

“Discuss treatments with your doctor before making a decision, as some treatments have potentially severe side effects,” Dr. Tojuola says. “Careful monitoring (watchful waiting), surgical removal of the prostate, radiation and testosterone-blocking hormone therapy may be options.

Tips for preventing prostate cancer:

Eating a low-fat diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and getting regular exercise may be the first line of defense against prostate cancer.

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