Prostate problems are a common issue for many people, especially those with a prostate. This includes cisgender men, transgender women, intersex people, and non-binary people with biologically male sexual organs. Each year, nearly 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it one of the most common cancers affecting people with a prostate. Most people with a prostate have trouble urinating as they age and are usually not due to prostate cancer.
Still, if you have a slow or weak urine flow, or if the urine flow starts and stops beyond your ability to control it, it's a good idea to get a prostate test. Prostate cancer is a serious disease, but early detection is key. It's important to understand the warning signs of prostate problems so that you can get timely treatment. Symptoms of prostate problems include frequent urge to urinate, need to get up many times during the night to urinate, blood in the urine or semen, pain or burning when urinating, painful ejaculation, frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area or upper thighs, and dripping urine.
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and when or if you should be screened for prostate cancer, sometimes as early as age 40 if you are considered to be at high risk. Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer by their father or brother have a significantly higher risk of developing the disease, and the risk increases if several family members have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. Make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent signs or symptoms that concern you.
The symptoms of acute or chronic prostatitis are mostly the same as those of CPPS (Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome), but may also include a burning sensation, urinary tract infections, and the need to urinate during sleep. If you have a very high risk of prostate cancer, you and your doctor may consider taking medications or other treatments to reduce your risk. According to the American Cancer Society, American and Caribbean men of African descent have higher rates of prostate cancer than those of other races, and they also tend to be younger when the disease develops.The prostate is located just below the bladder in men and surrounds the top of the tube that drains urine from the bladder (urethra). A prostate tumor can put pressure on the bladder and urethra, so take note if you start to feel a frequent and sometimes urgent need to urinate, especially at night.
In some prostate cancers, it may be beneficial to block that hormone with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which can delay the cancer or even cause it to go into remission.It's important for older people in particular to know the signs of a prostate problem in order to get timely treatment. That's why I and most of the urologists and medical professionals I talk to encourage men over a certain age to get regular prostate exams.