Have you thought about your prostate health lately? You might be wondering, what is the prostate gland? It is an organ tucked away under a man’s bladder. Typically, men only think about this well-hidden part when it misbehaves. The sole purpose of the prostate is to produce the fluid needed for reproduction. Although the prostate serves no other role, it is surrounded by several delicate structures responsible for urinary and other sexual functions.
When a man empties his bladder, the urine passes through the middle of his prostate. Growth or irritation of the prostate can increase the frequency of urination and decrease the flow. Several medical conditions can mimic prostate problems (see sidebar). Any change in urinary habits should prompt a visit to the doctor.
The prostate is also susceptible to cancer. In fact, it is the most common cancer in men and the second most common cause of cancer death in men. Therefore, men aged 40 and above should ask their doctor when they should have a screening PSA blood test based on their individual needs and risks.
Fortunately, recent medical advances provide less invasive treatment options for prostate conditions—including prostate cancer. As a result, those all-important neighboring nerves and muscles can avoid harm’s way. Be sure to look for my article in the next issue, “Men’s Health Holiday Survival Guide.”
Conditions That Mimic Prostate Symptoms
Diabetes – Excess sugar in your urine will increase urinary frequency.
Sleep apnea – Intermittent obstruction of airflow can cause you to wake multiple times at night.
Medications – Side effects can restrict urinary flow or increase the urge to urinate.
Kidney diseases – that cause inappropriate over or underproduction of urine
Neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA, is Wellstar’s Medical Director of Urology and of Robotic Surgery. He has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years and sees patients at Wellstar Urology in Roswell, Wellstar North Fulton Hospital and Wellstar Avalon Health Park.
Wellstar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA • Wellstar North Fulton Hospital 470.956.4230 • www.scottdmillermd.com