Other prostate disorders.The symptoms can be deceiving. A man may have difficulty urinating or may have frequent and urgent needs to urinate. His prostate specific antigen PSA (Prostate specific antigen)
A tumor marker associated with prostate cancer.
Mentioned in: Tumor Markers (PSA) levels may be elevated. These signs may point to prostate cancer. But more often than not, the prostate gland is acting up in less dangerous ways, the most common situation being benign prostate hyperplasia Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH)
Enlargement of the prostate gland.
Mentioned in: Paruresis (BPH).
A disorder in which the prostate enlarges, BPH is not cancer and does not cause cancer. It is much more common than prostate cancer, affecting more than half of American men in their 60s. Up to 90% of men over age 80 have some BPH symptoms. Health care costs for BPH exceed $2 billion a year, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates.
The physician can detect the condition through a digital rectal examination Digital rectal examination
A routine screening test that is used to detect any lumps in the prostate gland or any hardening or other abnormality of the prostate tissue. . Other tests can determine severity. Because the prostate surrounds the urethra, any enlargement can choke off urine flow. Sometimes the prostate is only mildly enlarged, and symptoms may subside or not be noticeable. But if the urine stream has been reduced to a trickle, if strain is necessary to start the stream, or if there are frequent urges to urinate, especially at night, treatment is probably necessary.
Besides watchful waiting, where patient and physician monitor prostate conditions, four other treatment options for BPH are available:
* Balloon dilation -- The physician threads a balloon-tipped catheter into the urethra to the point of blockage and inflates the balloon, stretching the urethra and allowing increased urine flow.
* Surgery -- The most common technique, and presently the most effective, transurethral resection of the prostate Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
Surgical removal of a portion of the prostate through the urethra, a method of treating the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, whether from BPH or cancer.
Mentioned in: Prostate Cancer (TURP TURP transurethral resection of the prostate.
transurethral resection of the prostate
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) ) involves removal of excess prostate tissue with a special instrument inserted into the urethra. Two other methods may be used: transurethral incision of the prostate and open prostatectomy Prostatectomy Definition
Prostatectomy refers to the surgical removal of part of the prostate gland (transurethral resection, a procedure performed to relieve urinary symptoms caused by benign enlargement), or all of the prostate (radical prostatectomy, . A new surgical method using lasers is undergoing clinical trials. Other alternative treatments also are under study, such as the use of microwaves to heat and destroy prostatic tissue and the use of metallic stents to open the urethra.
* Alpha blockers -- These oral medications help to relax prostate muscles, easing pressure on the urethra. The FDA has approved only one alpha blocker for BPH -- terazosin (Hytrin).
* Proscar (finasteride Finasteride Definition
Finasteride is a drug that belongs to the class of androgen inhibitors, which means that it blocks the production of male sex hormones. It is sold in the United States and Canada under the brand names Proscar and Propecia. ) -- This oral drug reduces male hormone levels in the prostate and can shrink the gland. Side effects include impotence and reduced sex drive. The NIH is recruiting men for a five-year trial set to begin in 1995 that will study the effects of Proscar and the drug doxazosin (Cardura) on BPH.
Another common prostate disorder, prostatitis prostatitis (prŏs'tətī`tĭs), inflammation of the prostate gland. Acute prostatitis is usually a result of infection in the urinary tract or infection carried by the blood; in many cases the infection spreads from the urethra and is , is caused by bacterial infections. Unlike BPH, prostatitis occurs mostly in younger men. It is usually treated with antibiotics.