Do you have a Prostate Problem?

The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ that is about the size of a walnut, found at the base of the bladder. The urethra is a thin tube that allows the passage of urine out of the penis. It runs through the prostate gland. Fluid produced by this gland helps to nourish the sperms present in semen. Similar to graying of hair, enlargement of prostate is a natural by-product of getting older.

This enlargement narrows the urethral lumen leading to a variety of symptoms such as poor urine flow, straining, intermittency of urinary stream, sense of incomplete emptying of urine, need to urinate frequently both during day and night and inability to control the desire to pass urine. All these may result in affecting the quality of life of the individual. However it is important to understand that not all urinary symptoms are due to prostatic enlargement and also, some men have enlarged prostates and yet experience few, if any, symptoms.

Nevertheless, if such symptoms are present in elderly men, seeking consultation with a urologist is warranted, especially if there is complete inability to pass urine, as this condition of urinary retention is a medical emergency. Although most of these enlargements are benign, there are times when the prostate may harbor cancer. On consultation, treating urologist would examine the patient and order some investigations.

The clinical profile of the patient and the result of these investigations would then decide the further management. It is a misconception amongst the common man that all such cases would require surgery. In fact, many patients do well with lifestyle modifications and specific medicines. Surgery is reserved for those who do not respond to such measures. In today’s era most of these benign prostates can be managed completely endoscopically (no need for incision) with a short hospital stay of 2–3 days.

In today’s era the common “ageing” man should realize the importance of these symptoms and the availability of the minimally invasive treatment.