Signs To Pay Attention To For Your Prostate Health
You may not know it, but your prostate plays a big role in your health. The prostate is a small gland that wraps around the urethra and sits just below your bladder. As we age, it’s normal for our prostate to get larger.
However, bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes your prostate becomes too large and starts to cause some frustrating health problems. Aside from getting bigger, the prostate is also prone to inflammation and of course, there is the risk for prostate cancer.
It’s important to understand what’s normal and what’s concerning when it comes to your prostate. We’ll walk you through some of the signs of common prostate problems and what you can do about them.
NIGHTTIME TRIPS TO THE BATHROOM
We’ve all been there. You’re right in the middle of a great dream when suddenly you’re ripped away by the nagging urge to pee. It’s irritating but normal… right? In most cases getting up at night to urinate is perfectly normal. However, if you’re getting up several times a night to pee, known as nocturia, this might be a red flag regarding your prostate.
As your prostate gets bigger, it can press on your bladder and urethra. This prevents you from fully emptying your bladder when you pee. The biggest problem with this is that it causes you, and your significant other, to lose sleep at night. If you’re waking up two or three times a night every night, then you’re going to be a tired wreck during the day. Losing sleep can make you irritable, accident-prone, and stressed out in your waking hours.
FREQUENT URINATION DURING THE DAY
The night is not the only time you may notice you’re racing to the toilet. Frequent urination throughout the day is also common with prostate problems. While it’s easy to tell if you’re peeing too much at night, it might not be so obvious during the day.
How can you tell what’s normal? Maybe it was just that extra cup of coffee you grabbed on your way to the office. Keep track of how many times you’re peeing throughout the day. If it’s more than four to eight times in a given day, chances are you’re having a problem with frequent urination.
WHY ARE YOU PEEING ALL THE TIME?
As we alluded to earlier, prostate problems can frequently fall into one of three categories:
- Age-related growth, which is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Prostate inflammation
- Prostate disease
If you’re having problems with urination, it's possible that one of these three things is to blame. The good news is that some of these have obvious symptoms that can help clue you and your doctor into what’s wrong.
If your prostate problems are caused by BPH then you may notice the following symptoms more often:
- Weak or interrupted urine streams
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Blood in your urine
- Leaking or dribbling
- Feeling like your bladder doesn’t fully empty
Prostate inflammation, known as prostatitis, can be more painful than BPH. Most of the time, prostatitis is a temporary inflammation due to a fungal or bacterial infection. Occasionally, chronic inflammation can happen without a known cause. It’s important to know the symptoms of prostatitis.
Symptoms of prostate inflammation include:
- Symptoms of infection (fever, chills, muscle aches)
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Painful or burning urination
- Inability to empty bladder
- Pain or difficulty ejaculating
- Pain in your lower back
- Pain in the pelvis
- Blood in the semen
When it comes to the last cause of prostate problems — disease like prostate cancer — we’ve got bad news. Prostate cancer doesn’t often cause any noticeable symptoms. Sometimes people notice difficulties urinating or describe pelvic and bone pain, but this is usually late in the game after cancer has spread. This just goes to show you why those terrible prostate exams are important.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR PROSTATE
If you’re not feeling right, don’t try to power through it. Check with your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms discussed here. Your doctor can work with you to figure out a good plan of attack for any prostate problems you may have.
Maybe we can’t completely prevent prostate problems from popping up, but that doesn’t mean we have to just sit back and let it happen. There are several simple things you can start doing right now to help your prostate health:
- Eat right — Add some fruits and vegetables to your extra meals and cut down on fast food.
- Exercise more — You can hit the weights or just add a walk to your day, any extra exercise can help your prostate.
- Drink more water — Being even a little dehydrated can cause problems for your whole body.
- Reduce stress — Being stressed can make your prostate problems flare up and feel worse.
- Avoid some medications — Some over-the-counter drugs like NSAIDs and antihistamines can contribute to prostate growth. Be sure to check your specific medications for how they might impact your prostate.
- Get your vitamin D — Vitamin D can reduce your risk of prostate cancer. You can get it for free from the sun, in supplements, or in fortified juices, milk, and cereals.
- Get your annual exam — Prostate cancer is usually found through health screenings, NOT from symptoms.
- Ejaculate regularly — Some studies suggest that regular ejaculation lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Plus, how often is THIS the answer to your problems?
- Add a supplement — General and prostate-specific supplements can make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.