Other Prostate Conditions
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Most men will eventually suffer from BPH—an enlarged prostate. BPH is not prostate cancer and having BPH doesn’t mean a man is more or less likely to get prostate cancer.
Unlike prostate cancer, which grows outward, BPH grows inward toward the prostate’s core, constantly tightening around the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder through the prostate to the penis) and interfering with urination.
One-quarter of men with BPH will require treatment, some more than once, to relieve urinary obstruction. For some, medication may help, including medications that relax the muscles of the urinary sphincter, called alpha blockers, or medications that actually shrink the volume of the prostate called DHT inhibitors. Often, these medications will be combined for more severe cases to prevent urinary obstruction and help relieve symptoms.
Some men with severe symptoms or those who wait until the disease is advanced before seeking treatment may require surgery.
Prostatitis is an inflamed, swollen, and tender prostate that can be caused by a bacterial infection or other factors. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that about 25% of all men who see a doctor for urological problems have symptoms of prostatitis. An estimated half of all men will experience some of these symptoms during their lifetime.
Prostatitis is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in men. The major complaint in men with prostatitis is pain in the perineum (the area between the rectum and the testicles). They may also experience aches, pain in the joints or muscles and lower back, blood in the urine, pain or burning during urination, and painful ejaculation.
Like BPH, prostatitis is not cancer and does not always lead to cancer. It is not always curable, but it is almost always treatable.
There is a common belief that inflammation of the prostate may lead over time to the development of prostate cancer. Current studies are examining ways of reducing inflammation to prevent prostate cancer.