The prostate is an important gland in the male reproductive system. While it can have a significant impact on a man’s health, many Apple Valley men do not have a solid understanding of what the prostate is and how they can manage the health of their prostate.
It is important that men throughout the High Desert region work with a urology expert throughout their adult lives in order to keep a check on their prostate and understand their risks for diseases related to the prostate.
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a small gland that is a part of the male reproductive system. Many have compared to the size of a walnut, and it is located below the bladder but in front of the rectum. One of the major functions of the prostate is to assist in the production of sperm. The sperm that are created by the prostate are ejaculated from the penis during sexual intercourse.
What is an Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate is a condition that is quite common among men who are aging. As a man gets older, his prostate will likely increase in size. By the age of 60, the prostate could be approximately the size of a lemon.
A portion of the prostate surrounds the urethra, and as it enlarges it can make it difficult for a man to completely empty his bladder at once. An enlarged prostate is so common that nearly 8 out of every 10 men over the age of 50 have this condition, but only about 30 percent of men with an enlarged prostate report that the symptoms are uncomfortable. In most cases, treatment is not necessary and simple lifestyle changes can minimize the symptoms.
What is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis is an infection of the prostate where the gland becomes inflamed. There are four different types of prostatitis, and it can effect men even in their teen years. It is not a contagious condition, and is not a sexually transmitted infection. In most cases, prostatitis is easily treated with antibiotics and the symptoms go away in a short period of time.
Patients who visit their urologist in order to discuss their prostate health may find that the doctor recommends a series of tests. A DRE, or digital rectum exam, is the most common exam related to the prostate. This standard test is performed on most patients, and it allows the surgeon to feel the size and shape of the prostate while also looking for abnormalities.
The PSA, or prostate-specific antigen test, is a blood test that is performed in order to measure the PSA protein amounts that are being produced by the prostate. These tests can give the urologist insight as to whether the prostate is in good health or whether additional testing may be required.
If you have not visited your urologist in a while, it may be time to schedule a well visit and have the doctor check the status of your prostate.