Tuesday Men’s Health Tip: Get Your Prostate Checked Out

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Men overlook their health care continuously. Take this month of National Men’s Health to focus on getting checked out.Many men aren’t sure what their prostate is, what it does, or when to call a doctor if they think they might have a problem. So, information is the best tool you have in dealing with this aspect of men’s health.

The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It’s supposed to be about the shape and size of a walnut.

It rests below your bladder and in front of your rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, the tube in your penis that carries pee from your bladder.

The prostate helps make some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperm from your testicles when you ejaculate.

By the time you reach age 40, your prostate might have gone from the size of a walnut to the size of an apricot. By the time you reach 60, it might be the size of a lemon.

Because it surrounds part of the urethra, the enlarged prostate can squeeze that tube. This causes problems when you try to pee. Typically, you won’t see these problems until you’re 50 or older, but they can start earlier.

BPH is common and cannot be prevented. Age and a family history of BPH are two things that increase the chances you might get it. A few stats on that:

  • Some 8 out of every 10 men eventually develop an enlarged prostate.
  • About 90% of men over the age of 85 will have BPH.
  • About 30% of men will find their symptoms bothersome.

You might hear a doctor or nurse call this condition benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH for short. It is not cancerous.

If you have trouble starting to urinate or have to go a lot, especially at night, these could be signals that you have an enlarged prostate. Other signs and symptoms include:

Your bladder doesn’t empty completely after you pee
You feel the need to go out of the blue with no sensation of build-up
You may stop and start several times
You have to strain to get any flow going
It’s important that you see your doctor if you have early symptoms of BPH. Although rare, it can lead to serious problems such as kidney or bladder damage.

A larger prostate doesn’t mean you’ll have more or worse symptoms. It’s different for each person. In fact, some men with very large prostates have few, if any, issues. But your doctor should be aware either way.

Prostate cancer “the overlooked disease,” and encouraged more testing and research. Have you been probed lately?