The prostate gland is a reproductive organ in males. It is roughly the size of a walnut and found at the back of the bladder. It is fluid created by the prostate gland that helps nourish sperm which will come from the seminal vesticles through the ejaculatory ducts and out the urethra. This gland can change and develop with age, and can also be affected by infections and bacteria.
The positioning of the prostate gland means that it is closely linked to urination and should it become enlarged or swollen then it can have a number of effects on us. For example, an enlarged prostate might push on our bladder making us more desperately and frequently need the toilet. Alternatively it might restrict the flow of the urethra, or the blockage of other tubes.
Sometimes urinary problems occur as men age and prostate enlargement has been shown to occur as we get older. The most common problem here is that the sufferers have difficulty emptying their bladders. This is non threatening, but in some cases may require intervention. In some cases this will classify as ‘BPH’ or benign prostatic hyperplasia which is more common in older patients. In these cases the prostate gland will enlarge to the point where it blocks the urethra and so men are more likely to experience difficulty peeing.
Should your prostate be inflamed due to bacteria or infection (prostatitis), then you will likely experience urgent urination, along with fever, lower back pain and groin pain. This will need to be treated with antibiotics and again is more common in older age. In some unfortunate cases urinary problems might suggest prostate cancer.
Of course there are many other causes of these urinary symptoms including muscle difficulties, bladder problems and even psychological issues. Diagnosis will involve a physical examination (a rectal examination to discover the size and shape of the prostate), a urine check, a flow rate check, ultrasound and urodynamics. To avoid prostate difficulties in older age you should take care to avoid stress and to eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as fresh fish (particularly cold ocean fish), seeds such as sunflower seeds and whole grain wheat.