The prostate is a doughnut-shaped cluster of glands located at the bottom of the bladder about halfway between the rectum and the base of the penis. It encircles the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis. The walnut-sized gland produces most of the fluid in semen.
The three most common prostate problems are:
Infection (prostatitis). Some prostate infections come on suddenly and give you symptoms such as:
- fever and chills
- pain and burning when peeing and during ejaculation
- a strong and frequent urge to pee, but only being able to pass small amounts of urine
- lower back or abdominal pain
- blood in the urine
- See your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms. These infections can be treated with antibiotics.
Prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hypertrophy). In some men, a natural part of aging is having a prostate that gets larger with time. While this is not a disease, as the gland gets bigger, the prostate tends to squeeze the urethra and can cause urinary problems. Some of these problems include:
- painful urination
- an urge to urinate a lot
- a decreased force of the urine stream
- having an incomplete emptying of the bladder
- problems getting the urine started and completely stopped
If urination becomes difficult for you because of these symptoms, talk with your health care provider about ways to treat and manage prostate enlargement. Some men "wait and see" and the symptoms go away. But, there are drugs that can help improve your symptoms. Surgery usually is not necessary.
Prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. Most cases are in men over the age of 65. It sometimes runs in families, and is more common in African American men and in men who eat a high-fat diet. It is a small and slow-growing cancer, but it can be very serious if it is large, advanced, or appears at a younger age. Because there are no specific symptoms, except in some cases when the symptoms are like those of prostate enlargement, screening tests to find the cancer are important. Talk with your health care provider about which prostate screening tests are best for you.
Last Updated: November 2003
Provided by www.4woman.gov