The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland located just below the bladder surrounding the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body, and plays a vital role in male fertility and overall men’s health.
Prostate health, then, is a crucial aspect of men’s overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked, misunderstood, or ignored altogether.
As men age, changes are likely to occur in their prostate, thus it being essential to understand these changes and available associated treatments. In what follows, we’ll be exploring the most common prostate changes in men as they age while also sharing several key interventions for the treatment, management, and prevention of prostate health concerns.
Common Prostate Changes in Men
As men age, it is common for their prostate to undergo changes that can impact their health. Sometimes, however, these changes are unbeknownst to the patient and could be cause for concern.
To gain a better understanding of these changes, here are some of the most common prostate changes men experience as they age:
This is a benign condition in which the prostate gland grows larger, putting pressure on the urethra and making urination difficult. Symptoms of BPH include weak urine flow, frequent urination, and a feeling of not being able to completely empty the bladder.
The exact cause of BPH is not known, but it is believed to be related to changes in hormone levels that occur with aging. As the levels of testosterone decrease, the levels of another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increase which then causes the prostate to grow.
This is an inflammation of the prostate that can cause pain and discomfort in the pelvic area. It can also result in frequent urination and a need to urinate at night. The condition is caused by a bacterial infection that affects the prostate and can be treated with antibiotics.
In some cases, prostatitis can be chronic and difficult to treat. In these cases, a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and stress management techniques may be necessary to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Prostate cancer is a potentially serious condition in which cells in the prostate grow abnormally and form a tumor. It is the most common type of cancer in men, and it is typically diagnosed in men over the age of 50.
There are several risk factors that have been identified, including age, race, family history, and lifestyle. Early detection is key when it comes to prostate cancer, and regular check-ups with your doctor are imperative.
Prostate Interventions as Men Age
While not all prostate changes are reasons to panic, it’s always in the best interest of the patient to proactively monitor and manage symptoms, seeking medical attention whenever necessary.
There are several options available for men looking to address prostate changes as they age, some not involving any medical attention whatsoever, at least in the early stages of identification or in the case of taking preventative action.
Here are three common prostate interventions the men can implement as they age to better treat, manage, and prevent prostate changes:
Making changes to your diet and exercise routine can help manage the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and improve overall prostate health. Eating a healthy diet that is low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce inflammation and promote prostate health. Regular exercise can also help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing prostate problems.
There are several medications available that can help manage the symptoms of an enlarged prostate including alpha-blockers, for example, which can help relax the muscles around the prostate and make it easier to urinate. Another option is 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which can slow the growth of the prostate and reduce the symptoms of BPH.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat an enlarged prostate. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a common procedure that involves removing part of the prostate to relieve pressure on the urethra. Another option is a prostatic urethral lift (PUL), which involves placing small implants in the prostate to lift it and open up the urethra.
Prostate changes are a natural part of aging for men, and it is essential to understand the options available for managing these changes. Whether you are experiencing an enlarged prostate, prostatitis, or prostate cancer, there are treatments available to help you manage your symptoms and improve your health.
To stay on top of your prostate health, be sure to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor and make lifestyle changes that promote overall wellness.