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Looking after your prostate health

PUBLISHED: 16:37 25 October 2019

Prostate health is something that we should all be aware of. Shidlovski/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Prostate health is something that we should all be aware of. Shidlovski/Getty Images/iStockphoto

IVAN SHIDLOVSKI www.shidlovski.com xWWW!.

To coincide with Movember, men's health awareness month, consultant urologist Mr Charles Carter highlights the importance of identifying prostate problems and treatments available

Ninety per cent of men experience some kind of problem with their prostate by the time they are 70 years old. With prostate cancer being the most common cancer in men in the UK, prostate health is a very important subject.

The prostate is a gland the size of a walnut that lies below the bladder. Urine has to pass through this donut-shaped gland before it reaches the urethra (the tube that drains urine). As men age, their prostate naturally increases in size and there can be several complications as a result of this.

These may include:

Bladder outlet obstruction: Also known a BOO, this is due to an enlarged prostate and symptoms include poor or intermittent flow and sometimes urinating frequently. If the obstruction becomes more severe, prompt diagnosis and treatment is important to prevent urine backing up in your system. This can present with wetting the bed at night and increased pressure can lead to kidney damage.

Medicines can be prescribed to either relax the prostate and bladder muscles or shrink the prostate. If medication is not successful, surgery may be the best solution. The gold standard operation is transurethral resection of the prostate that involves cutting away a section of the prostate. Alternatives include the minimally invasive urolift treatment that holds the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way so it no longer blocks the urethra; a high-powered laser treatment to remove excess prostate tissue; or prostatic arterial embolisation where beads are used to block the blood supply to the prostate.

Prostatitis: This is an acute, sudden condition and is an inflammation or infection of the prostate gland. This can be due to a bacterial infection or something more chronic and troublesome, going on for many months or even years. The severity of symptoms varies, but the usual one is pain in the pelvic area, the perineum, the part of you which would be in contact with a bicycle saddle. Prostatitis can usually be treated with painkillers and a course of antibiotics.

Prostate cancer: More than 40,000 men are diagnosed with this cancer in the UK every year, though most survive. It mainly affects men over 50 or those with a family history of the disease. Prostate cancer often progresses slowly and does not cause any symptoms in the early stages.

If the cancer presents as low risk, regular observation and repeated PSA blood tests and MRIs are conducted. If the cancer presents itself as more serious, treatments available are robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy surgery, where the whole of the prostate is removed; brachytherapy where tiny radioactive pellets are implanted into the prostate gland; or external beam radiotherapy where high-energy beams are used to kill cancer cells.

Take action!

If you are experiencing symptoms related to the prostate, please speak to your GP. They may refer you to a consultant urologist like myself. During your initial consultation we would discuss your symptoms, carry out an examination, and conduct blood and urine tests as well as an ultrasound. Following the results, an appropriate treatment plan would be drawn up.

MEET THE CONSULTANT

Consultant urologist and surgeon Mr Charles Carter has worked at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital since 1998. He hosts a weekly clinic on a Wednesday morning. For more information and to book an appointment, call the Nuffield Health customer services team on 01202 031613.

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