Monday, May 16, 2011

Prostate Health

BPH: benign prostatic hypertrophy. The prostate gland enlarges, compresses the urethra and causes urinary obstruction. As the prostate enlarges, it may extend into the bladder and obstruct urine outflow. As men age, hormones decrease causing an imbalance in androgen and estrogen levels and levels of dihydrotestosterone increase. DHT is the main prostatic androgen.

Clinical signs and symptoms are proportional to the extent of prostatic enlargement and glandular lobes affected. Below are some s/s to look out for.
decreased urine stream
weak urine stream
urinary hesitancy
difficulty in starting urination
frequency, nocturia, dribbling

If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss them with your doctor. Annual PSA screenings should begin at the age of 40. PSA: prostatic specific antigen is a simple blood test that helps your doctor in determining if you have BPH or prostate cancer. Your chance of getting prostate cancer increases substantially after the age of 50.  Many prostate cancers are found in men in  their 60's. Your doctor may do a digital rectal exam to access for an enlarged prostate. Be aware, if you go for a PSA blood test after your rectal exam, you may have an elevated PSA level.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN