Prostate cancer is not the only disease that affects the prostate. As a man ages, his prostate continues to grow larger. This continued growth can cause benign (not cancer) prostate conditions. Conditions such as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis are also a concern for men and can be disruptive. Fortunately both conditions can be treated and managed to improve quality of life.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
BPH is a common condition caused when a man’s prostate is enlarged. Benign means not cancer and hyperplasia means abnormal cell growth. Men with this condition can have their prostates double or even triple in size. The enlarged prostate can press against the bladder and cause trouble with urination (peeing).
BPH is not cancer and men who have BPH are not at an increased risk for prostate cancer. Symptoms of BPH are similar to those of prostate cancer, so it’s important to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms:
- Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied
- Weak or slow urine stream
- Stopping and starting again several times while urinating
While BPH cannot be cured, drugs and surgery can help to relieve symptoms from the disease. Talk with your doctor or urologist about the best choice for you.
Prostatitis is the inflammation or swelling of the prostate. A diagnosis of prostatitis does not mean that a man has prostate cancer. The inflammation of the prostate can increase the PSA level in the blood.
Men with prostatitis frequently have swelling and pain in their prostate. As many as 50 percent of all men will be diagnosed with one form of this condition. There are four types of prostatitis: acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
The symptoms a man will experience depend on the type of prostatitis and some men do not have any noticeable symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- Trouble passing urine
- Burning or stinging feeling or pain upon urination
- Strong, frequent urge to urinate, even when there is very little urine
- Chills and high fever
- Low back pain
- Painful ejaculation
Talk with your doctor or urologist if you have these symptoms or have been diagnosed with prostatitis. One tool that may be used to diagnosis prostatitis is the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index. This brief questionnaire helps the physician understand how your prostatitis symptoms are affecting you. The questionnaire should be repeated at follow up appointments to compare your progress.
To find a urologist, visit the American Urology Association’s Doctor Finder. All active members are certified by the American Board of Urology.