Function, Location and Purpose
Located between the bladder and penis is a walnut-shaped gland that the urethra runs through. This gland is the prostate. Fluid is also released from the body through this gland, including urine and sperm.
Diseases and Treatments
- Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH): a non-cancerous condition where there is an overgrowth in prostate tissue that can press against the bladder and urethra. This can block urine from flowing properly and cause a weak, sometimes interrupted urine stream. Men may also experience sensations of needing to urinate frequently and urgently during the daytime and at night.
- Treatments may include medications to help relax the urethra or shrink the prostate, as well as many different procedures to reduce the blockage caused by the prostate.
- Prostatitis: inflammation and swelling of the prostate which can cause symptoms such as pain in the pelvis or with urination.
- There are multiple treatment options. Your provider may prescribe an antibiotic medication (ABX) if infected or with acute bacterial prostatitis. If the symptoms have been going on for a long time, other management options such as pelvic floor therapy, nerve blocks or anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended. Patients should be mindful of certain activities which may put excessive or continuous pressure on the perineum/prostate region which potentially contribute to chronic prostatitis symptoms. Some patients may need to modify certain activities like using a special “noseless” bike seat for intensive cycling.
- Prostate Cancer: the most common type of cancer found among men in the United States with more than 192,000 cases diagnosed yearly. Almost all prostate cancers begin in the gland cells of the prostate and are known as adenocarcinomas. Although typically identified in men >50 years old in America, higher stages of prostate cancer may be found in Hispanic, Black and Native American men. Additionally, men with a family history of prostate cancer or certain genetic mutations also have a higher risk.
- The most common treatment options are to surgery to remove the prostate or radiation. A less common treatment involves freezing the prostate and an emerging treatment is a hi-frequency ultrasound (HIFU). There are measures you can take to monitor your risk of prostate cancer. Keep healthy by screening for prostate cancer by having a routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) or digital rectal exam (DRE) checks beginning at ages 55-69. If you have any concerns or questions about possibly being at risk, you should discuss with your health care provider or urologist about getting routinely screened.
UofL Physicians – Urology offers a full range of urological care for adult patients. Surgery and medical management of cancer of the bladder, kidney, urethra, prostate and testicles are available at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center with a urologic oncologist as part of a multidisciplinary team ready to treat you.