by: Alan Brown
As you begin to get older, many men begin to wonder about their prostate health. Prostate health is all over the news and media, and you may even know someone that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer over the past few years. If you are worried about your prostate health, or want to find out ways to help protect it, you have come to the right place. We will go over what this important gland does, and discuss the different options that you have in protecting your prostate health.
First, you must understand what the prostate actually is. It is a sexual gland, about the size of a walnut that is located around the base of the bladder and urethra. It essentially, hugs the tube that carries urine out of your body. This partially muscular, partially glandular organ produces a slightly alkaline substance that is present in semen.
It is important to understand that there are many problems with prostate health that aren’t life threatening. So if you feel that you may have a problem with your prostate, usually shown by a difficulty to urinate, it is important that you seek medical advice. Prostate disease is a condition that can vary from individual to individual. Some simply have an infection that can be treated with medication; others have an inflammation of the prostate tissue, while others simply have an enlargement of the prostate gland. While all of these many indicate cancer at a latter point, they don’t necessarily mean cancer right off the bat.
Getting a diagnosis is the first step to improving your prostate health. Your doctor may perform one or more of the following tests to access the situation. Most of them are painless or may only be uncomfortable. Discuss your options with your doctor if you have a low threshold for pain.
• DRE (digital rectal examination). The physician will fell the prostate manually to look for enlargements and problems.
• PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing. Your doctor will do a simple blood test to determine your level of PSA. Small amounts are normal, but large amounts could indicate a problem.
• TRUS (transrectal ultrasound). This test uses wave echoes to create an image of the prostate.
• Cystoscopy- where the doctor looks through the urethra with a thin, lighted tube.
• Biopsy- a small tissue sample is collected from the area and studied.
The key to preserving your prostate health is go get proper treatment early on. Many men are ashamed to seek treatment, which can ultimately lead to further complications. Prostate disease and cancer are easily treated as long as you get diagnosed early on. At the first sign of pain or discomfort contact your doctor immediately. Men over the age of 50 should get their prostate checked out at least once a year. Find a doctor that you are comfortable with, and make sure to ask questions. Many patients choose to do research online before they visit a doctor, which will help you ask the right questions during your visit.