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The prostate is a small gland, located in the pelvis, between the penis and bladder and has two periods of growth throughout a man’s life.
Christian Brown, Consultant Urological Surgeon at The Princes Grace Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, explained: “The first begins with puberty, during which the prostate can double in size.
“The secondary phase of growth begins during the mid-twenties and will often continue for the rest of a man’s life.
“A young man’s prostate is generally the size of a walnut, while an older man’s prostate is usually the size of a ping-pong ball. As the prostate doesn’t stop growing, it can grow as large as a tennis ball in some men, or even larger as they age.”
While many young men feel prostate problems are only an issue for old men, they can begin at any age, advised Brown.
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He continued: “Implementing a healthy lifestyle can reduce your chance of having prostate problems in the future.
“The most obvious and common signs of an enlarged prostate all regard urinating. If you are struggling to pee, suffer with ‘stop-start’ urinating, find yourself frequently urinating, and waking up in the night to pee, then your prostate is likely to be enlarged.
“Incontinence can also become an issue for some men. There are two main types of incontinence, with the first being called urge incontinence. This can happen when you have a sudden need to urinate and can’t get to the toilet in time.
“The other type is called stress incontinence, which can occur when your body strains to avoid urinating when sneezing, coughing, or lifting something that is heavy.”
The treatment for an enlarged prostate gland will depend on how badly the symptoms are affecting your quality of life.
The NHS lists the main treatments as:
- lifestyle changes
- surgery and other procedures
Research suggests that pumpkin seeds used in combination with saw palmetto may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.
Saw Palmetto is an herbal remedy that comes from a type of palm tree, and which has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to relieve urinary symptoms, including those caused by an enlarged prostate.
A. Vogel offers Prostasan Saw Palmetto extract capsules RRP 30 capsules £19.99.
Other common prostate problems include prostatitis and prostate cancer. The NHS lists the symptoms of all these conditions to look out for.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland and there are two main types – chronic prostatitis and acute prostatitis.
Chronic prostatitis is where symptoms come and go over several months, and is the most common type. Acute prostatitis is where the symptoms are severe and come on suddenly. It’s rare but potentially life-threatening and requires immediate treatment.
Symptoms of acute prostatitis may include:
- pain, which may be severe, in or around your penis, testicles, anus, lower abdomen or lower back – pooing can be painful
- pain when peeing, needing to pee frequently (particularly at night), problems starting or “stop-start” peeing, an urgent need to pee and, sometimes, blood in your urine
- not being able to pee, which leads to a build-up of urine in the bladder known as acute urinary retention – this needs urgent medical attention
- generally feeling unwell, with aches, pains and possibly a high temperature
- lower back pain and pain on ejaculation
Chronic prostatitis symptoms may include:
- pain in and around your penis, testicles, anus, lower abdomen or lower back
- pain when peeing, a frequent or urgent need to pee, particularly at night, or “stop-start” peeing
- an enlarged or tender prostate on rectal examination
- sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction, pain when ejaculating or pelvic pain after sex
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly so there may be no symptoms for many years.
When symptoms do appear, it’s usually when the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra). The following may occur:
- an increased need to pee
- straining while you pee
- a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied
If you experience the symptoms of any of these conditions, see your GP.