Could it be my Prostate Doc?

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This is the question  most middle aged men readily ask their doctors, whenever they have any bladder or penile related symptoms.

As a young man growing up, I regularly saw older men in their 50’s and above spend more time than  required passing urine, well to me,  it seemed like they spent an eternity standing in front of the toilet, whilst I popped in and out and my job done.

Here I am, two decades later as a male family physician with a receding hairline and almost getting to the dreaded age where the fear of prostatic problem is the beginning of wisdom.
So, Doc! Could it be my prostate? Is a question I have been asked a lot lately by my male patients , especially those above 30 years old. With the availability of Dr Google, most patients come in petrified of possible prostatic problems. Therefore, I am to briefly discuss the common conditions affecting the prostate below.


Well the prostate is an organ that lies just below the male bladder and two common conditions of the prostate are enlargement of the prostate  ( also called Hypertrophy -BPH) and  for cancer of the prostate,  especially  in black men. I am not going to bore you with what the prostate is and its function, rather I would like to take you through the possible symptoms of an enlarged prostate and prostate carcinoma , when to seek medical advice and examination from your doctor and the symptoms that should make you seek an urgent appointment as well.

The possible symptoms of an enlarged prostate includes the following:

1.Difficulty initiating urine flow
2.Need to strain whilst passing urine
3.Waking up at night multiple times to pass urine
4.Dribbling of urine
5.Poor urine flow
6.Unable to hold your urine for long in your bladder

Symptoms of possible prostate cancer includes

Passing blood in urine
Blood in semen
Unable to pass urine at all
Pain in your testis
Pain between your scrotum and anus
Pain in your lower back or bone pain in your your thighs
Unwanted weight loss
All the symptoms listed for enlarged prostate above
You might not have any symptoms at all

What you should do if you develop any of the above symptoms

You should see your family physician if you have one, otherwise you can attend any clinic as a walk in and speak to a Doctor.

Your physician would most likely take your history by talking to you about your symptoms.

Your prostate would be examined, this is usually done by inserting a gloved finger through the anus to feel for the prostate and assess it’s size, feel for  any hard mass or lumps, to check if is painful to touch.

You would also be sent for a blood test , which should include prostate specific antigen assay (PSA).

If your examinations throws up possible suspicious mass or enlarged prostate, then you should be referred onward to a urologist. The urologist would take a sample from the prostate- (called a biopsy)

In summary enlargement of the prostate and cancer of the prostate are two different conditions, although both are very common in men above 50 years of age.  It is more common in black men and any man above 50 who has any worrying symptoms should not hesitate to have their prostate examined.