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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Prostate and Aging: What You Need to Know

by Dr. Howard Tay, MD
Special to the Advocate

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What is a prostate?

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system and it is a walnut-sized gland that is located in between your bladder and your penis and front of your rectum. Through the prostate, runs your urethra, letting urine flow out of the body from your bladder. The prostate’s main purpose is to nourish and protect sperm by squeezing fluid into the urethra during ejaculation. 

How is the prostate affected by aging?

First of all, the prostate begins to growly slowly by the age of 25. As you age, it grows larger and can cause issues for your body down the line. 50% of men over the age of 50 years old have issues related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as the growth of the prostate. The biggest issues and symptoms that are related to BPH are typically separated into two categories:

Irritative voiding symptoms, such as:
  – Frequent urination
  – Urgent urination
  – Nighttime urination (nocturia)

Obstructive voiding symptoms:
  – Hesitancy (stop-start-stop flow)
  – Diminished urinary flow
  – Incomplete bladder emptying

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The cause of BPH and prostate growth is currently unknown, although there are theories relating to testosterone and its more potent counterpart dihydrotestosterone. Those with BPH are often treated with medication such as alpha-blockers, but sometimes surgery is necessary.

Does an aging prostate affect sex?

BPH can also cause other symptoms, called lower urinary tract symptoms or LUTS. Men with LUTS also tend to have issues in the bedroom. LUTS can lead to trouble with maintaining an erection, a lowered sex drive, or a lowered sense of satisfaction. 

Why should I be keeping track of my prostate as I age?

The prostate can be affected by many diseases and symptoms including prostate cancer, Prostatitis, prostate-specific antigen, and more. It is important to keep track of your prostate as you age so you can catch any of these early and treat them before they put your life at risk. 

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer types in men. It is responsible for 30,000 deaths annually and 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer are found each year. Prostate cancer usually affects men older than 50 years old, but it has also been found in men in their late 30s and 40s. 

Symptoms of prostate cancer often include:

Prostatitis

Men of all ages can be affected by prostatitis which occurs when the prostate glands swell because of inflammation. There are two forms of prostatitis: Acute and Chronic Prostatitis. Acute Prostatitis comes on suddenly, while Chronic Prostatitis develops slowly and lingers for many months. 

Common symptoms of prostatitis are: While these aren’t the only symptoms that can affect your prostate as you age, they are some of the most common. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s important to seek out a board-certified urologist in your area. 

About Dr. Howard Tay, MD, Board Certified Urologist

Dr. Howard Tay is a board-certified urologist in Arizona certified by the American Board of Urology. He is an active member in the American Urological Association. He has practiced urology in Arizona since 1996.

Dr. Tay is recognized as a leading Arizona urologists, including several Phoenix Magazine “Top Doc” awards for urology.

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