Most men aren't sure what their prostate is, what it does, or when to call a doctor if they think they might have a problem. So, information is the best tool you have in dealing with this aspect of men’s health. Below I have answered some of the FAQ’s relating to the health of your prostate.
What is the prostate?
It is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system about the shape and size of a walnut. The prostate helps make some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperm from your testicles when you ejaculate.
Where is the prostate located?
The prostate is located below your bladder and in front of your rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, the tube in your penis that carries pee from your bladder.
What are the most common diseases of the prostate?
The most frequent prostate problems are prostate gland enlargement, bacterial prostatitis and prostate cancer.
How are these pathologies diagnosed early?
Early diagnosis is done through frequent prostatic evaluation, which must start at the age of 40. This test is done with or without symptoms it requires the testing of the total prostate-specific antigen (PSA) count, a prostate ultrasound and a digital rectal examination.
What is PSA and why is important?
Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by normal, as well as malignant, cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood.
What is the next step if the patient has a high total PSA?
The patient should get a referral to visit the urologist who will perform the physical examination and a prostatic ultrasound. If deemed necessary the urologist will recommend a Trans rectal prostatic biopsy, which is a procedure to remove samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate for further testing.
What services does the SMMC have in relation to prostatic condition treatments?
There is a radiology service that includes ultrasound and tomography and in the urological office we also have cystoscopy and uroflujometry.
What are the risk factors for developing prostatic conditions?
If we talk about prostate cancer the risk factors are:
- Age 40 years and above,
- Men of African descent (increases the risk 4 times more than those of Caucasian descent),
- A family history of prostate cancer (father, cousins or uncles with prostate cancer).
Does the diet have any role in prostatic pathology?
There have been multiple investigations and revisions of multiple publications that have been carried out without the recommendation of a particular diet for the prevention of prostatic pathology.
What are the symptoms that should be expected if the patient has a prostatic problem?
In general the symptoms are urinary obstructive:
- Decrease in the size of the voiding stream,
- Slow urinary stream,
- Intermittent voiding stream,
- Dribbling at the end of urination,
- Urination effort,
- Urinating many times at night,
- Delay in the start of micturition in the morning.
When should the patient contact the doctor?
You should contact your doctor if one or more symptoms of urinary obstruction is present and persistent. In the case of the prostate, an annual check should be made starting at age 40, with or without symptoms to make an early diagnosis of prostate cancer.
How can women help male members of the family?
They can help to remember that just as women should go to the gynecologist for the examination and screening of breast and gynecological care, men should start his annual control from the age of forty even if he has no symptoms. Always encourage and support the men in your lives to go for their check-ups.
Dr. Diego Ramos is the Urologist at the St. Maarten Medical Center. He has 14 years of experience in urology, urological surgery and endoscopy. Dr. Ramos studied and obtained his degrees in general surgery and urology at the Central University of Venezuela and at the University of Los Andes. He is a certified surgeon with a specialty in non-invasive laser treatments for kidney and bladder stones.