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A Wee Problem That’s More Common Than You Think

Prostate symptoms are extremely usual in males over the age of 50, yet many are putting off seeing their doctor about it. Abi Jackson sorts the men from the boys

Men are notorious for burying their heads in the sand about their health, and it seems this is especially true when it comes to things going on ‘down there’ potentially relating to the prostate, the gland which sits underneath men’s bladders, surrounds the urethra and produces semen.

One in five UK men would turn a blind eye to prostate problems, according to a recent survey by herbal brand A.Vogel. In fact, 20% admitted that if they experienced symptoms like needing to pee more frequently or urgently, feeling that they’re unable to fully empty their bladder, or difficulty urinating, they would “just ignore it and hope it got better by itself”.

“It can be tough for men talking about their health in general, let alone when it relates to something so sensitive,” says GP Dr Roger Henderson. “In my experience, there are three main reasons men delay coming forward: embarrassment, fear that it may be cancer, or the belief that it’s just a natural part of ageing and there’s nothing they can do.”

Hashim Ahmed, a consultant urologist at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital (www.bupa.co.uk), understands the complexity of cancer worries. As well as the fear of being diagnosed, the tests involved can be daunting, as can the prospect of treatment and potential side-effects; impotence and incontinence are often big concerns.

“Men are concerned about what might happen if they did go and get a check of their prostate, things like worrying about a back passage examination, and the subsequent tests that can sometimes involve biopsies.

“And then there’s been a lot of press about the fact that prostate cancer treatment itself is quite controversial,” he explains, referring to how many experts believe that aggressive treatment for early prostate cancer actually offers very little benefit, so may lead to unnecessary distress and side-effects, and the fact that traditional testing methods have been highlighted as being potentially unreliable.

“All of these things have contributed to quite a lot of confusion in the public eye,” Ahmed notes.

CANCER CONCERNS

This fear and confusion means two things. Firstly, men who do have cancer may be delaying their diagnosis, and secondly, that men whose symptoms are due to benign conditions may be missing out on treatments.

Though prostate cancer is the most common cancer in UK males, it is still relatively rare, affecting around one in eight men, with most diagnosed between the ages of 70-74.

As Ahmed points out though, as with all cancers, early diagnosis is absolutely crucial. And testing methods have come a long way in the last five years, which means more accurate diagnoses can be made and not all men will require the most aggressive forms of treatment. Side-effects are not always inevitable, either.

A COMMON PROBLEM

The vast majority who experience symptoms, however, will not have cancer. These symptoms are extremely common as men get older, and are most often caused by an enlarged prostate, known medically as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which affects 50% of men over 50. Despite that, the A.Vogel survey also revealed that nearly 70% had never heard of the condition.

“It’s linked with an increase in the size of the prostate gland, due to an increase in cells,” explains Dr Henderson, who has helped launch A.Vogel’s ‘Enlarged Prostate Health Hub’ (www.avogel.co.uk/health/enlarged-prostate/).

“BPH is associated with a number of common symptoms, including a need to pass water more frequently and urgently, often at night, with occasional leaking or dribbling, hesitancy in passing water, or a weak stream of straining, and a feeling that the bladder is never fully empty.”

Age is the major risk factor, he points out, though a family history can also play a role, and having high blood pressure or diabetes may also be linked with an increased risk.

Also, men with a history of BPH are not at higher risk of developing cancer. “This is a common misconception,” says Henderson. “Although there can be similarities in the nature of the symptoms, having BPH does not increase your risk of prostate cancer in any way.”

READY RELIEF

“BPH can have a significant effect on quality of life,” Henderson notes, “affecting sleep, work, relationships and sex. If left untreated, it can result in complications, such as bladder infections, acute or chronic urine retention, which can affect kidneys, and hernia from straining.”

The good news is though, that BPH is most often easily treatable. Some men with mild symptoms may choose to take a “wait and watch” approach, or make some lifestyle changes. “Things such as cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, especially late at night, as these can make you need the toilet more, and stopping smoking, as nicotine can irritate the bladder,” says Henderson. Natural remedies are sometimes cited as offering potential relief too, including saw palmetto supplements (A.Vogel Prostasan Saw Palmetto capsules, £10.90 for 30 capsules, www.avogel.co.uk).

Ahmed notes that an antioxidant-rich diet, particularly containing things like pomegranate juice, cooked tomatoes, broccoli and green tea, could help promote good prostate health.

When symptoms are more severe and are impacting a man’s quality of life, tablets can be prescribed which, usually, are very effective.

Sometimes, though rarely, further treatments, such as laser treatment, may be needed.

OTHER CAUSES

Though benign growths or enlargement are the most common cause of prostate symptoms, sometimes other conditions come into play. “The other thing that can occur, particularly in younger men who have these symptoms whose prostates are quite small, is that the prostate can become quite tight, so the muscle cells, for some reason, tighten up all the time,” notes Ahmed. “Again, that can be treated with tablets to relax the prostate and neck of the bladder, to enable urine to pass better.

“Also, you could have an infection, and that would be detected with a simple urine test and easily treated with antibiotics. And very rarely, men can have a narrowing in the wall of the urine passage from scar tissue, but that’s unusual.”

In the case of infections – or inflammation without infection – it tends to be younger men who are affected (mainly aged 30-50) and symptoms may be accompanied by pain and discomfort.

 

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Have you had any prostate symptoms?  What treatment have you received?

 


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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fuelling fun for the young at heart!

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Gilliemac
15th Feb 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
This is my story that I gave as a talk at the Glasgow Cannabis Club 420 event on Glasgow Green in 2014.
First of all, I am no one special.
and my message to-day is aimed primarily at you guys out there.
I have had a great life and always felt healthy.
and I stand here to-day due to 3 people -
1) My WIFE,
2) in spite of my CONSULTANT,
3)A MAN I HAVE NEVER met
However, in 2011 I was getting up to go to the toilet a few times during the night
and my WIFE made me go to the Doctors.
The Dr did a blood test which was to check my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
The result came back as 32.6 nanograms/millilitre.
The normal level for this is usually around 4 to 5 depending on your age.
Anything above that is SERIOUS.
I was immediately sent to Hospital for tests, which were very invasive.
The result of these test was I had EXTREME PROSTATE CANCER.
The CONSULTANT sat my wife and I down and told us the news, They could do nothing for me
it was too far advanced - GO HOME AND PUT MY AFFAIRS IN ORDER I had a few months to live, but I was going to die.
My wife was distraught.
I said, I'm going to beat this.
How, I didn't know, but I was determined. Years ago a Dr told me I would never walk again after I
had a very serious accident - and I am so contrary - I said to him, I'll show you - 2 years later I was walking.
I still seem to be as Contrary as ever.
I started to look up everything I could about cancer and Prostate in particular.
I found a site about an Austrian Dr Johanna Budwig, where she was curing cancer using FLAX SEED OIL.
I bought her diet book and started taking the Mix she suggested.
This was coupled with a vegetarian diet and regular exercise - Oxygen (deep breathing) helps kill cancer cells.
NO MEATS, SUGARS, Spirits, etc as these feed cancer cells.
YOUR MENTAL ATTITUDE IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT - BE POSITIVE YOU WILL GET BETTER AND YOU WILL.
After a month in November 2011 my PSA had come down from 32.6 to 27.8
This was good news, something was working.
The only trouble was, it was not working fast enough.
At this rate, I was going to be dead before I was cured.
There had to be another way.
I continued researching and with the diet, in January 2012 My Psa was now 25.7
At 2 a month, I was in trouble, it would take me around 11 months to reach a PSA of 4
I had three months.
Then I came across an article by Rick Simpson in Canada, where he claimed Hemp Oil cured cancers.
OK I thought I'll give this a try - simple you would think - TRY TO GET SOME.
I knew that it was against the Law, so my decision was, do I obey a stupid law and die, or do I ignore it and live.
I put out a request on Facebook, explaining what I was going through.
A few days later I received a small container of Black liquid and what to do with it.
Take a drop, the size of a GRAIN OF RICE 3 times a day. What did I have to lose?
Try judging what amount a grain of rice is - not easy, however the good thing is YOU CAN'T OVERDOSE.
One time I missjudged the dose using the end of a spoon - the best sleep I ever had was the result.
However, the taste of this stuff to me was disgusting.
My wife overcame this easily as she made me little balls of dates and nuts blended and mixed with
some of the Oil which made it more bearable and almost pleasant.
Taking one around 10pm solved the sleep challenge and next day there were no after effects whatsoever.
In 90 days I had no more cancer.
The other effects the Oil had were:
A burn I had on the back of my hand for over 30 years was healed.
An Appendix scar the thickness of my pinky finger has all but disappeared.
I Feel healthier than I have ever done in years.
Who do you know three years after being diagnosed with incurable cancer looks like me?
At this time my anger with Governments and Doctors has subsided somewhat.
However, with the amount of people dying of not only cancer but many more unnecessary ills
causes me to fight for Hemp Medicine to be made available to all.
15,000 men alone die in Scotland for no other reason than another person said it is illegal to grow and use this PLANT.
These Police Officers in front of us are searching for growers every day, and I support them in what they do,
However, while I don't agree with people making money from this plant, they could take the plants they find and supply Hospitals with what they take and cut Scotland's health bill by Millions, instead of destroying a very valuable health giving Plant.
It costs very little for the seeds.
You can grow it yourself, the same as tomatoes or any other plant.
You don't need DEALERS of any kind.
The stupid thing is it is NOT ILLEGAL to buy the seeds or any equipment to grow it as long as you DON'T PLANT IT!
EVEN THE MAD HATTER WOULD HAVE A LAUGH AT THAT ONE!
It grows to a useable level in something like 14 weeks.
This is a plant that much of the British Empire was built on - Dundee would probably not exist in it's present form if it was not for Hemp.
The British Navy used the ropes and sails made from Hemp.
Henry Ford built the first Hemp car and ran it on Naphtha fuel made from Hemp.
This plant can solve most of the Worlds problems to-day, but it will NOT make money for the Pharmaceutical companies, and that is the main problem as they buy Politicians to keep it illegal.
There is one company in UK who grow it and sell the resultant Oil after doctoring it with medical alcohol to make it a spray.
Strange how they can have a licence to grow this plant from the Government and no one else can.
Their profit is 4,000 % and the NHS can't afford it for their patients.
If we are allowed to grow it, it will be almost FREE.
It's up to you to decide.
Do the sick in Scotland deserve to DIE, or should WE change the Law and SAVE our families and friends?
THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
It may take quite a bit to get to the point where you realize that just doing what your doctors put you through is not adequate.
Unfortunately, for many people this point comes at the end, when it is clear that medicine has failed and they are dying a painful and slow death. -
It doesn’t have to be this way:
A diagnosis of cancer, or even a suspicion of cancer is VERY fearful.
You reflect on friends or family who died of cancer.
Think Of all the celebrities who got cancer, gradually deteriorated and died.
Every TV show or movie featuring someone with cancer has them dying at the end. So it’s no wonder research shows that cancer is the most feared disease in the world along with being the most feared word too.
How could it not be - given these circumstances? However, as you will learn
THERE IS A CURE.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms-
There are no warning signs or symptoms of early prostate cancer. Once a malignant tumour causes the prostate gland to swell significantly,
or once cancer spreads beyond the prostate, the following symptoms may be present:
• A frequent need to urinate, especially at night.
• Difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine.
• A weak or interrupted urinary stream.
• Inability to urinate standing up.
• A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation.
• Blood in urine or semen.
These are not symptoms of the cancer itself. Instead, they are the symptoms of the blockage from the cancer growth within the prostate and surrounding tissues.
Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:
• Dull, incessant deep pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, ribs, or upper thighs; arthritic pain in the bones of those areas.
• Loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.
• Swelling of the lower extremities.
•weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs.
If any of these symptoms apply to you, do not hesitate to get a check-up NOW!
and DON'T let them give you Chemotherapy or any treatment other than Hemp Bud Oil
Andy Butcher
26th Dec 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi,
can't quite see why people think they can't get a blood test doen to check PSA?
I'm 50, and asked my doctor to put me in for a prostate scan, which they did, (no probs there)..my scan came back as fine, but my prostate was slightly enlarged, common for men over 40 actually, and not just 50..
When i pee i have something called hesitancy, where, sometime i'll pee really normal, and others not so fast and sometimes in spurts..ALL VERY NORMAL..my PSA test's have been (touch wood) all fine, and i went to my doctors last week and asked them that i would like to have my blood test again, the form of which i have and all boxes on form ticked..checking my PSA, cholesterol,evrything etc..(its my annual MOT check up)..all GP's will do this..remember..if you are not happy about something, tell them and get it checked..also remember that prostate cancer can take years and years..and it's mainly in much older men..
Ricky
14th Dec 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
My wife wanted me to have a well man check up. GP sent me for a blood test for the usual cholesterol, diabetes etc. Day before the test a friend said I should have my PSA tested. Came back at 11. Saw a urologist and has an MRI and further PSA test which was 13. Biopsy ordered - not that painful in my experience more unpleasant - advised Gleeson score of 7 (4+3) - had prostate removed and after what is now a year am feeling good. Erections not quite back and 98% continent - odd leakages. I know I am very fortunate. If my friend had not told me to ask for the PSA test then I may have ended up with terminal cancer as I had no symptoms. My advice for anyone who's GP won't authorize a PSA test is ask for a cholesterol test and once with the phlebotomist ask them to (or you do it yourself) tick the PSA test box. Might as Tankie says save your life! My friend Alan saved mine.
tankie
29th Oct 2014
1
Thanks for voting!
I self diagnosed myself with prostate cancer 7 years ago I didn't have any symptoms except getting up during the night but not every night. I went to see my GP and asked for a PSA test and he questioned why but agreed to do one. The reading came back a bit high so he sent me for a biopsy which found that out of the 10 done 7 were positive for cancer so I had the prostatectomy and now I am fine and have been discharged from the hospital The surgeon said after the operation that I had a very aggressive cancer and if I hadn't have done what I did I might not be here today. So I say to anybody who is worried get yourself checked out it may save your life
Dan_Filson
28th Sep 2014
-1
Thanks for voting!
Not sure how an article is if it says the prostate is the gland that produces semen. Balls!
Anne Foster
3rd Nov 2014
2
Thanks for voting!
Dan, you're thinking of sperm that is produced in the balls. Prostate gland makes the seminal fluid = semen.
sirdenn
27th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
I went to my doctor's for a PSA test but was told because the surgery had had their budget cut by £30 000 they were no longer giving tests that were not part of National Screening programmes. I know PSA tests can be as unreliable and potentially unnecessarily worrying as breast screening but it is a simple indicator which just might save someone's life. So come on why not let those men who are interested in their health find out just how healthy they are. And stop blaming men for having little interest in their health when they are not encouraged to take an interest by those who can make a difference!
Rastus
7th Jan 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
Just ask to have it done privately none of these test are that expensive ,my late wife suffered from breast lumps so to save her being out of her mind with worry waiting for our wonderful NHS she just asked her Doc to sort out a private appointment at the local Private Hospital, 3 days job sorted £175 for a very happy wife , Not a large sum for peace of mind . I would have paid much more than that to have my happy smiling back again . And if anything had been discovered she would have gone straight to that consultants clinic at the NHS without having to wait 3 months for an appointment to be diagnosed .It's called looking after the ones you love !
john mcghee
16th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
I am still at the recovery stage at thhe moment since I had my prostrate removed in March this year, I took a bad infection after getting out of Hospital so that has set me back by about a month
in the recovery stages just struggling trying to get bladder control. My consultant is delighted with the way the operation I had and has given me a cancer free diagnosis, I urge everyone who has problems to go and see their G.P as soon as they think something is wrong. I would also like to thak the nursing staff of Gartnavel Hospital for the way they looked after me . Thanks to everyone who looked after me.
steve
12th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Had all the tests, started with tablets which had same effect on sex life, changed to Alfuzosin 10mg and they still work but no unpleasant sexual side effects.
Gavin
11th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
I'm 42 y/o and had very similar problems for years without understanding why or in fact realising how "different" I really was.
It wasn't until I started a new job 2002 (aged 30) where the loos were cubicles only ie. no urinals and I'd be standing (straining) to pass water in smallish individual bursts rather than a continuous flow that I'd hear guys visit another cubicle in the same room and "power hose" the rim before leaving again much quicker than me. I then thought I must get this checked out.
All my life there had been "signs" eg. bed-wetting as a child, sleep interruption as an adolescent/adult, regularly suffering numerous visits to the loo within a short space of time, car journeys interrupted because of urgent toilet stops needed etc.
I was worried about the cause but went to my GP who referred me to the Urology Dept at hospital who quickly responded to dismiss any fears of Prostate problem at such a young age - well what's causing my suffering then, I thought.
1st I had to drink a certain amount of water and not go to the toilet (almost impossible for me), then do the toilet into a funnel which was linked to flow/volume measuring computer equipment (gladly without the need for any witnesses being present). It was evident from the results that further investigation was required as I clearly wasn't emptying my bladder after each toilet visit ( hence the need for such regular bathroom visits on some some days but not others - sometimes going and within 10 mins being desperate again.
Admitted to hospital as a day patient I was put under general anaesthetic and had the most effective procedure done of my life.
It turned out to be something as simple as a narrowing of the Urethra (hole from which the bladder drains) - perhaps caused by a fall as a child(?). This hole was surgically enlarged which allowed the bladder to properly empty at each toilet stop. This in turn reduces the large number of loo stops I have in a day, avoids panic stops when on the road, allows uninterrupted sleep and did result in a very unexpected powerful "flow" which 1st time around caused me to "overshoot" the pan!
Although all the original symptoms were similar to the prostate issues, this shows that there can be other (less frightening) causes which can be easily corrected - resulting in a much better quality of life! If however your situation does prove to be prostate cancer it goes without saying the earlier it is identified the more that can be done to sort things ( as was done for my wife's uncle 20+ yrs ago and he's "fine"!). Please do not ignore things!
Silversurfers
11th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Many thanks for sharing this with us Gavin 🙂
Norm
10th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
I started to have prostate problems 3 years ago age 59 when my psa count was 4. I was referred to a consultant who did another psa which was 10. I was told I probably had prostate cancer which was a bit of a shock. I had 10 biopsy’s taken which were negative (and painful). I had a further 34 biopsy’s taken under general anaesthetic. All were negative. My GP did a further psa which was still 4. I suspect I was misdiagnosed and underwent a needless procedure.
As to the medication, I take Combodart which works a treat and prevented the usually surgery but beware the side effects, I have put on 2 stone, have man boobs, and can’t get a full erection or ejaculate in a normal way i.e. dry or reverse ejaculation which has pretty much killed my sex life stone dead. Still I can pee like a 17 year old now.
Steve
9th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
I am 53, have been peeing a lot more frequently than those around me who seem to be drinking the same amount of fluids,and this has been going on for years. I have been to the Dr on a couple of times, and one of the times I was examined......

Apparently my prostate was enlarged but seemed to the Dr to be healthy. Or I was told that not cancerous.
I do not drink alcohol one day at a time, but when I drink I drink Coffee, or diet coke, both of which apparently are diarrettick , (cant spell diarrettick) and that means these fluids make you pee more.

I have not been to the Dr for that problem for a while now as I am fearful of the outcome. I know 5 friends that have had various forms of treatment, and so far I am afraid that one of these men is living longer than his Dr's first mentioned but is very ill
Silversurfers
9th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Thanks for your comment Steve . we are all fearful of finding out news that we don't want to hear, however, early detection of anything seems to increase our chances of recovery. 😉
w.buxton
8th Sep 2014
1
Thanks for voting!
enlarged prostrate ( finistride)

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