Posts Tagged ‘Prostate Gland

Discover Important Facts About Prostate Disease

 

 

 

The prostate is a male sexual reproductive gland, normally weighing around 20 grams and measuring about 3 centimeters in diameter, about the size of a walnut. It is located beneath the urinary bladder, and directly in front of the rectum. A portion of the prostate gland engulfs the upper part of the urethra, the tube in which urine exits the body from.

Within the prostate gland are hundreds of smaller glands each packed with thousands of cells that are responsible for creating an alkaline fluid that eventually contributes to the individual’s semen. Semen is made up of both sperm and several seminal fluids, made by the prostate gland and two other nearby glands. The fluid made by the prostate contains fructose and is slightly basic and is therefore both an energy supply to be utilized by the sperm and a protective shield against the mild acids present in the vagina.

Fluid production by the prostate is controlled by the male sexual hormones testosterone, made by the testes; dehydroepiandrosterone, made in the adrenal glands; and dihydrotestosterone made in the prostate itself. These hormones are also called ‘androgens’, and are also responsible for a man’s sex drive and secondary sex characteristics, such as facial hair, a lower voice, and increased muscle mass.

There are three common disorders in men that affect the prostate. The first is prostate cancer, a malignant tumor of the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, but if caught in the early stages is usually not fatal. It is most prevalent in men over the age of 50. Early stages of the disease usually have no symptoms, but eventually the added size to the gland may begin to impinge on the urethra, causing urinary problems such as pain, or blood in the urine. A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test can often detect prostate cancer even in its early stages, and is therefore a good test for a man over 50 to undergo regularly.

Another common prostate disorder that can mimic prostate cancer is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. BPH is basically a condition in which the prostate enlarges and impinges on the urethra, much like it would in the middle stages of prostate cancer, causing difficulty urinating, frequent urges to urinate, and pain while urinating. Simple tests can be done to determine if an individual is suffering from BPH or prostate cancer. BPH is not fatal, does not lead to cancer, and a number of treatments are available today to alleviate the symptoms.

Finally, the prostate itself is vulnerable to infection. The same bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also infect the prostate, leading to prostatitis. Prostatitis usually involves some of the same symptoms involved in BPH with respect to urinary difficulties, yet is usually also accompanied by fever, chills, and pain in the lower back. Like most bacterial infections, prostatitis is usually treated with antibiotics.

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