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Tiny Gland, Big Problem: Relief for Men Dealing with Prostate Problems

Tiny Gland, Big Problem: Relief for Men Dealing with Prostate Problems

by Mary Beth TeSelle, Sponsored Content
Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help men to maintain good prostate health as they age. Still, over time, the tiny gland may become enlarged and causing a variety of problems. Fortunately, treatment is available.

Considering how small it is, the prostate gland can cause surprisingly big problems for men as they age.

The prostate is a small gland in men located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, wrapping around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. While it is roughly the size of a walnut in younger adult men, it tends to grow larger as men get older. As it grows, it can cause a number of problems.

“I tell my patients that the prostate is like every other part of your body,” says David Kleinerman, MD, urologist with Dignity Health Medical Group — Sierra Nevada. “To help keep it healthy, we need to look at our diet, our stress levels, our activity level. Eating right, drinking lots of water, watching how much alcohol we consume, getting regular exercise — all of these things can help to keep our prostate healthy.”

Still, Dr. Kleinerman says even with good lifestyle choices, many men will experience problems with their prostate as it grows over time. If it enlarges and begins to compress the urethra (where urine travels after leaving the bladder), urination can become difficult. This is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Symptoms of BPH include:

• Frequent urge to urinate

• A need to get up many times during the night to urinate

• Blood in urine or semen

• Pain or burning during urination and/or ejaculation

• Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs

• Dribbling of urine

Dr. Kleinerman says it’s important for men to pay attention to these symptoms.

“These are warning signs,” he says. “Don’t hide it, don’t be afraid. If you are having problems urinating, if your stream is slowing down, or you’re having to get up multiple times a night, I would recommend getting checked out.”

While having a conversation with your primary care physician is a good first step, a urologist can be helpful in finding the right treatment plan for each individual.

Dr. Kleinerman says improving one’s overall health is a good first step and relieving mild symptoms, as is taking simple actions aimed at improving blood flow.

“For some of my older patients, I tell them when you get up during the night to urinate, walk around a little bit first,” he explains. “The movement will help increase blood flow to the pelvic floor. You can also try sitting and lifting your legs. The prostate glad sits way deep down in the pelvis and it needs circulation and activity. Whatever you can do to provide that will help it stay healthy and function better.”

Medication can also help to shrink the prostate or relax muscles near the prostate to ease symptoms.

“Some medications work very well for certain patients,” Dr. Kleinerman says. “Or occasionally certain medications may cause side effects that are undesirable. We can work with patients to find the best treatment option for them.”

If other treatments aren’t providing relief, Dr. Kleinerman says surgical treatment known as a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is safe and effective. The procedure removes parts of the prostate gland without incisions.

“TURP is very safe technology,” Dr. Kleinerman says. “I have very good results using TURP. Many patients can’t urinate or have a very hard time emptying their bladder — and after TURP, they are happy and report complete resolution of those symptoms.”

Dr. Kleinerman says he performs TURP procedures frequently, usually on men in their sixties or older, but occasionally on younger men with advanced symptoms.

He encourages men who are suffering from prostate-related symptoms to seek help.

“Even the healthiest men in the world may find themselves dealing with urination problems related to an enlarged prostate,” he says. “It’s very gratifying to be able to help men find a solution that works for them.”



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