The prostate is a gland present in males. It is about the size of the walnut and is located between the bladder and the penis. The prostate secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra and it is expelled with sperm as semen.
With age, many men experience some form of a prostate disease. Because of how common the problem is, men in their 50s or 60s must talk to their doctors about whether and how often they need to have your prostate gland checked. Especially in cases where you may have a family history of prostate disease or are particularly concerned about something specific, discuss your concerns with the best Urologist in Lahore or your city.
Types of Prostate Disease
Whether you or a loved one is concerned that they may be experiencing prostate health problems, it is important to know the different types of diseases that exist. There are three major types of diseases associated with the prostate gland listed below. Make yourself familiar with these before learning what you can do in both situations of looking after yourself or a loved one.
- Prostatitis or Inflammation of the Prostate:
This problem is more common in younger men, between the ages of 30 to 50 years. However, it can occur at any age. The main types of prostatitis are bacterial prostatitis (an acute or chronic bacterial infection) and non-bacterial prostatitis (inflamed prostate, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)).
In general, the cause of prostatitis is unknown. Bacterial prostatitis responds well to antibiotic drugs that can get into the prostate.
In case of non-bacterial prostatitis, or CPPS, symptoms vary for each individual. CPPS is the most common form of prostatitis and is more difficult to manage. Symptoms vary from one man to another. Some possible causes of CPPS include:
- A past bacterial prostatitis infection
- Irritation from some chemicals
- A problem with the nerves connecting the lower urinary tract
- Problems with pelvic floor muscles
- Sexual abuse
- Chronic anxiety problems
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH):
BHP is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that is more common in older men. There are a number of symptoms associated with BPH including difficulties associated with urinating and an urge to urinate even when the bladder is empty. Other symptoms include frequent urination, especially at night and a weak or intermittent stream and dribbling of urine.
- Prostate Cancer
This is a very common type of cancer among men. Symptoms include frequent urge to urinate particularly at night, difficulty in urination, inability to urinate, sporadic urine flow, painful or a burning sensation during urination, painful ejaculation, blood in the urine or semen, and pain in the back and hips.
Although the exact causes of prostate cancer remain unknown, age and family history are believed to be contributing factors. If detected early, prostate cancer has a high chance of recovery.
Diagnosis of Prostate Disease
Prostate disease is diagnosed via various different tests, including:
- Physical examination, including digital rectal examination (DRE). In this case, the doctor inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to check the size of your prostate
- Blood test for prostate specific antigen
- Mid-stream urine (MSU) tests to look for infection or blood in the urine
- Ultrasound scans and urinary flow studies
- Biopsies of the prostate
What to do after Diagnosis
Once you have spoken to your doctor and confirmed the type of disease you have, they will undoubtedly start talking to you about the different treatments on offer. This may not happen immediately after your diagnosis, but it will certainly take place not long after, as the quicker it is dealt with, the quicker you can hopefully move on with your life. Your doctor will understand that getting such a diagnosis can be a huge shock and could recommend that you take some time to wrap your head around things before having such conversations with them.
In this time, you could educate yourself more on the disease. By seeing the statistic on recovery for this disease or all the facts laid out before you could make you feel confident in taking the next step of treatment. Of course, this won’t be ideal for everyone. Instead, you could find that the best way to wrap your head around this disease is to talk to someone. This could be your doctor, where you ask them a select number of questions about the type of disease you have. Alternatively, it could be a counselor or a loved one, where you share your thoughts and feelings on the diagnosis. Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health, and talking to an expert about how you feel mentally could help you feel ready to think about treatment options.
When you reach this stage, you will find there could be several options. However, it does depend on the type of disease you have.
Treatment for Prostate Disease
Prostatitis may be treated with antibacterial drugs and supportive treatments.
BPH treatment includes a number of options such as medications to relax the smooth muscle of the gland or to shrink the size of the prostate. Another option is a surgery to produce a permanently widened channel in the part of the urethra that passes through the prostate.
Prostate cancer is treated based on individual cases and depends on many factors such as the nature of the cancer, other health problems of the patient, and preferences of the patient, etc. Treatment options include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone treatment, surgery etc.
Prostate diseases are quite common but with early detection, most can be treated easily. It is thus highly recommended to consult a good Urologist in Lahore or your city, who would then suggest screening tests, if needed.
Looking after Yourself after Treatment
When you get diagnosed with prostate disease, whether this is prostate cancer, BPH, or prostatitis, you will want to make sure you are looking after yourself. Some specific types of disease will require more care and changes to your life, but this is what you need to do to look after yourself:
- Try to get better bladder control – The treatment and disease could result in problems with your bladder. Therefore, you will want to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles as your first port of call. If this doesn’t work, speak to your doctor about potential medications and solutions.
- Make changes to your sex life – If you have your prostate gland removed, sex will be a little different. However, if you book an appointment with your doctor, they will be able to offer advice and guidance on how you can still have a good sex life.
- Healthy habits trump everything else – If you are eating right, sleeping well, and reducing your stress, you are doing everything to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
- Embrace your new normal – A diagnosis and treatment could temporarily change your life as you get used to your new body, identity, and new family roles at home. It may be that it will never go back to how it was, so you will need to learn to embrace your new normal.
Helping those with Prostate disease
As prostate can be treated, it is vitally important that those who find themselves with the disease get this treatment. This means ensuring that enough support and health care services are available to them. If you want to do your bit in ensuring that those with the disease can see through the treatment and get on the road to recovery, there are several things you can do. Some require simple actions; others may change the course of your own life.
Offer to help them at home
If a loved one, partner, or close friend has recently experienced prostate health problems, then you could offer your services in the form of cleaning their home, shopping, and taking them to follow-up appointments. Although these may only seem like small acts, they could make a huge difference to your loved one. They may ask you to do one or more of these small acts, and if they haven’t, make sure to ask them. They may be struggling but are too embarrassed to ask for help. Many people may not voice out loud that they are struggling. So it could be down to you to offer your help.
Become part of the health services
Part of patients getting the treatment they need is because of the healthcare services staff. Many go into this type of profession due to its fulfilling nature, so those with naturally caring personalities are perfect for this. So if you fit this bill and want to be doing more to help those with this disease, then entering the healthcare industry could be a great move. There are numerous roles that you can take up, from being a nurse or doctor to an administrator. Each will take a select number of years to reach this position, which is why this is very much a long-term goal for helping others with the disease. However, it will be completely worth it. By taking the time to go to university to earn your degree and getting your first role, you could find yourself helping patients firsthand as they go through treatment or get that diagnosis.
If you want to be doing more for patients, consider the impact you could make if you took up a leadership role. Nurses, for example, can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and have the highest level of nursing experience, enabling them to take on a leadership role. With your leadership status, skills, and expertise, you could have more influence on the health policy implementation and outcomes for patients. With this, you could put more emphasis on getting people diagnosed sooner by having the facilities available for people to get assessed. This is just one example of what you could do with your leadership role. If this sounds like something that you would be interested in achieving, then you need to earn your DNP with an institute like Wilkes University. You may be ready to take this step now if you are already a nurse, and as it takes less than two years to earn your degree, you could be making a difference in the not too far future.
If you are yet to step foot in this industry, you will first want to earn your nursing degree. There are multiple routes that you can take to achieve this, such as studying online or taking an accelerated program. Make sure to research your options thoroughly before making a decision.
Donate to help thousands
If you want to ensure that services and treatments are available for all, you could think about what impact you could make by giving to charity. Donations keep many non-profit organizations running, and donating so much money a month to a prostate charity should make a difference in the lives of thousands. Your donation could ensure that treatments are readily available and that programs and activities can continue to run. These support groups, where patients can openly discuss their thoughts, or recovery groups will be a key point in a person’s recovery.
If you want to take this one step further, you could consider opening up your own charity. Note that this could take a lot of your free time and effort in getting it up and running, but the difference it could make to many is worth it. You will want to take some time to find out how you can get people to donate to the charity or fund it. With the money from donations, you could open up your own support group, offer services like taking people to appointments or doing their shopping or open up a hotline where people can ring up about health concerns or worries. Note: the latter option should only be considered if you have the appropriate education and qualifications. Nurse practitioners, for example, could be perfect to choose this option, but if you have no training, you should consider another form of support you can offer.