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Common signs and symptoms of prostate problems

Your prostate questions answered:

Our leading health professionals share the answers to common questions regarding the prostate.

My wife says I should be checked for prostate cancer. I am 53 and don’t have any urinary problems so I don’t think a check is necessary. What do you advise?

Early prostate cancer doesn’t usually cause urinary symptoms. The only way to identify is by digital rectal examination and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. I suggest that you speak to your doctor about this.

I am a retired gentleman and have difficulty starting to pass urine. Sometimes I feel I want to go more frequently at night, but then I cannot commence. What can I do about this?

Talk to your doctor. The prostate gland sits below the neck of the bladder, surrounding the bladder outlet (the urethra). It undergoes changes with age. In some men these changes may be associated with urinary symptoms such as a slow and/or interrupted stream, difficulty starting to pass urine, increased need to pass urine more frequently, a feeling of incomplete emptying and, in some cases, loss of urine control.

My husband has been getting up several times a night to pass urine and he says that he has problems getting started. I am worried he might have prostate cancer. What are the symptoms?

You have raised a couple of issues here. The most common cause of urine frequency at night and problems with initiating urine flow is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is when the prostate grows bigger. Prostate enlargement happens to almost all men as they get older. As the prostate enlarges it can press on the urethra and cause urination and bladder problems His doctor may order oral medication to relax and shrink the prostate to improve his symptoms. Prostate cancer may not cause urinary symptoms. A doctor often first detects signs of cancer during a routine check-up. If you are concerned with the symptoms that your husband is experiencing, I suggest making a doctor’s appointment to discuss these issues.

I’ve had problems with my prostate and my doctor has referred me to a urologist

An urologist will find out the extent of your prostate trouble from a set of routine tests. These usually include a urine test (to identify any infection), an X-ray or ultrasound scan (to check how well the bladder and kidneys are coping), blood tests, and a urine flow test to see how fast you pass your water. Your urologist may also wish to examine the prostate. When these tests are completed the urologist will usually be able to tell you whether you need treatment for your prostate or whether any further tests are necessary.

Please note the information supplied is general in nature. Please consult your medical practitioner for individual advice.

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