Prostate Specific Antigen Testing
Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein made by the cells in your prostate. Your PSA levels can be measured using a blood test and give an indication of your prostate health.
A PSA test isnt a test for cancer. Higher levels of PSA might indicate prostate cancer, but a high reading could also be caused by other conditions. It is also possible to have low level readings and have prostate cancer. This means that a PSA test isnt enough to definitively diagnose or rule out prostate cancer. Your PSA levels can vary, so your doctor might run this test a few times to compare your results and help determine your risk of prostate cancer.
Questions To Ask Yourself About Enlarged Prostate Treatment
When you discuss the treatment options for an enlarged prostate with your doctor, keep these points in mind:
- How much are my symptoms bothering me?
- Do they keep me from doing things I enjoy?
- How long do I want to deal with them?
- Am I willing to accept small risks to improve my symptoms?
- Do I understand the risks?
- Am I ready to do something about this problem?
Turp / Greenlight Pvp Laser / Thermotherapy
Transurethral resection of the prostate has long been the mainstay of enlarged prostate surgery, but less invasive alternatives are now available, with the potential for equal results. With TURP, the obstructing portion of the enlarged prostate tissue is removed. Although effective, TURP requires hospitalization and catheterization for 48 hours or more and comes with risks associated with anesthesia bleeding during and after the operation and, in rare cases, fluid absorption that can be life-threatening.
Prostate LaserOne alternative that has emerged is laser enlarged prostate surgery. Like TURP, the so-called GreenLight PVP Laser Therapy aims to create a channel in the urethra through which men can urinate more freely but the surgery is considerably less invasive. Instead of cutting tissue out, the newer technique creates the channel by vaporizing the tissue using laser energy. Thus far, almost every study has shown that when done by experienced urologists, the laser enlarged prostate surgery produces results that are equal to those with TURP, but without the severe side effects and risks. It is an outpatient procedure with minimal to no bleeding, no risk of fluid absorption, and catheterization only overnight, if at all.
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How Is Enlarged Prostate Diagnosed
The first step is a standard physical exam which often involves a urine analysis and a digital rectal exam, which involves a doctor inserting a finger into the rectum. The physician will assess the size and contour of the prostate and determine if any nodules are present, which may suggest the presence of prostate cancer.
The physician may also assess for tenderness, which can be found when the prostate is inflamed. Tests may be done in the office to assess strength of urine flow or to check for residual urine in the bladder.
Next, doctors may run one or several tests to make an accurate diagnosis. These can include a PSA blood test, urodynamic tests , cystoscopy and transrectal ultrasound .
Diagnosing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The doctor will usually press on and manipulate the abdomen and sides to detect signs of kidney or bladder abnormalities. The doctor will also check for signs of anemia or swelling in the legs and arms.
Certain procedures that test reflexes, sensations, and motor response may be performed in the lower extremities to rule out possible neurologic causes of the bladder dysfunction.
There are several tools and examinations the doctor may use to diagnose or rate the severity of your condition, including:
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Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Serious
An enlarged prostate does not lead to prostate cancer or testicular cancer. However, BPH wont go away on its own, and it can have a major effect on your quality of life and health if left untreated. This condition can interrupt your sleep and disrupt your work and social life. In addition, several complications are possible, including:
- Urine retention
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An Enlarged Prostate
An enlarged prostate is the most common cause of urinary problems in men as they get older. Possible symptoms include:
- a weak flow when you urinate
- a feeling that your bladder hasnt emptied properly
- difficulty starting to urinate
- dribbling urine after you finish urinating
- needing to urinate more often, especially at night
- a sudden urge to urinate you may sometimes leak before you get to the toilet.
You may not get all of these symptoms, and some men with an enlarged prostate dont get any symptoms at all. These symptoms can also be caused by other things, such as cold weather, anxiety, other health problems, lifestyle factors, and some medicines. Blood in your urine may be a symptom of an enlarged prostate. But this is rare and is usually caused by something else.
If you have any of the symptoms above, you should visit your GP to find out what may be causing them.
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When Should You Call A Doctor For Bph
Urinary symptoms related to enlarging prostate initially affect the quality of life, and if no complications exist, as mentioned above , the decision to treat is optional and is left to the patient. This means that if you dont feel bothered enough to take a medicine or undergo a procedure for it, youll need to follow up with your doctor to ensure the symptoms are stable, and the bladder empties well. This can be assessed by prostate symptom questionnaires and a measure of the strength of the urinary stream and residual urine in the bladder. If complications develop, however, or if the bladder starts holding increasing amounts of residual urine after urination, treatment should be started.
If you experience bladder pain or burning with urination, blood in the urine associated with fever/chills or nausea/vomiting, or if the prostate enlargement condition worsens and symptoms such as blood in the urine or lower back pain are present, consult a doctor immediately. If you cannot reach your doctor when these symptoms are present, seek evaluation at a hospitals emergency department.
For acute symptoms such as acute urinary retention , you should immediately go to the closest emergency medical facility for bladder drainage, usually with a catheter, which is a tube inserted into the bladder.
Men over 50 years of age should have their prostate checked annually by their physician even if they have no symptoms.
If You Are Diagnosed With Bph
Taken together, these tests will help your healthcare provider determine whether you have BPH and if you do, how severe it is. If you have BPH, your healthcare provider should provide you with information on whether simply monitoring your symptoms is a reasonable option, or whether treatment is a better option.
BPH can be treated medically or surgically in some cases.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Developing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The best ways to reduce your risk of developing BPH are to make lifestyle changes that improve your prostate and heart health and take supplements.
Exercising at least 30 minutes each day may help prevent BPH or slow prostate growth. Maintaining normal cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels is also important.
The following herbal supplements may also help reduce your risk of developing BPH:
- Beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol is a micronutrient in plants that may help keep your heart healthy.
- Pygeum africanum. Pygeum africanum is an herbal extract from African cherry tree bark that may help shrink your prostate.
- Flaxseed. Flax is a good source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that may help lower your cholesterol.
- Pumpkin seed oil. Pumpkin seed oil comes from pumpkin seeds. It may help shrink your prostate.
Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements. They may adversely react to other supplements or medications youre currently taking.
When To See A Doctor
If you don’t see a reduction in symptoms or if your symptoms worsen, you may need to undergo a different treatment plan.
The first higher-level treatment is to begin taking prescription drugs for an enlarged prostate. One class of medication is an alpha blocker. These medications, such as Flomax, Rapaflo, and Cardura, work by relaxing the affected muscles around the prostate to encourage urine flow.
Another type of medication is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Examples of these medications include Proscar and Avodart, which are long-term medications that help to block the production of dihydrotestosterone and shrink the size of the prostate.
Surgery and Minimally Invasive Procedures
For moderate to severe BPH, you may need a medical procedure to relieve your symptoms. There are a variety of procedures, including laser therapy, microwave heat, or prostate tissue compression. Partial prostate removal and full removal are more invasive but may be necessary for extremely large prostate glands.
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The Difference Between Prostate Cancer And Bph
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
During your yearly physical, your doctor might do a rectal exam or request you get a blood test to check your prostate-specific antigen level checked. If your prostate is enlarged or your PSA test comes back high, your doctor may do a biopsy to determine if your abnormal results are caused by prostate cancer or BPH. Heres what you need to know about the two conditions and their similarities and differences.
How To Add More Pomegranate Juice To Your Diet
You can buy pomegranate juice at most grocery stores. If drinking the juice plain is too intense, consider diluting it with plain water or adding some sparkling water.
You can also add pomegranate seeds to homemade salad dressing to sweeten up your favorite salad.
Pomegranates are high in antioxidants. Animal and test-tube studies have shown that pomegranate juice could inhibit the production of some prostate cancer cells.
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Why Is A Prostate
A PSA blood test is performed to detect or rule out prostate cancer. The amount of PSA in the blood is often higher in men who have prostate cancer. However, an elevated PSA level does not necessarily indicate prostate cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the PSA blood test for use in conjunction with a DRE to help detect prostate cancer in men age 50 or older and for monitoring men with prostate cancer after treatment. However, much remains unknown about how to interpret a PSA blood test, its ability to discriminate between cancer and problems such as BPH and prostatitis, and the best course of action if the PSA level is high.
When done in addition to a DRE, a PSA blood test enhances detection of prostate cancer. However, the test is known to have relatively high false-positive rates. A PSA blood test also may identify a greater number of medically insignificant lumps or growths, called tumors, in the prostate. Health care providers and patients should weigh the benefits of PSA blood testing against the risks of follow-up diagnostic tests. The procedures used to diagnose prostate cancer may cause significant side effects, including bleeding and infection.
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What Is The Difference Between Prostate Cancer And Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer that develops in your prostate gland. Early-stage prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms. However, as it progresses, it shares many of the same symptoms as BPH. These symptoms include a weak urine flow, pain when ejaculating or peeing and frequent urges to pee. Prostate cancer may spread to your bones, lymph nodes or other parts of your body. Treatment options include radiation therapy and surgery.
BPH symptoms are similar to prostate cancer symptoms. However, BPH isnt cancer, and it doesnt increase your risk of developing cancer. It wont spread to other parts of your body. Treatment options include medicines, surgery and minimally invasive procedures.
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What Are The Treatments For Bph
Not everyone needs treatment for BPH. Treatment options depend on how much your symptoms bother you, your health, age, and the size of your prostate:
Lifestyle changes may improve mild symptoms. They include:
- Drinking less before bedtime or going out
- Avoiding or cutting back on beverages with caffeine and alcohol
- Bladder training and exercising the muscles that control urine flow
- Preventing or treating constipation
Medicines can help mild to moderate symptoms by:
Sometimes combining 2 types of medicine helps more than taking just one type of medicine.
Medical procedures can help improve moderate to severe BPH symptoms when medicines don’t help enough. There are several different types of procedures. They all use an instrument inserted into the urethra to either:
Surgery may be helpful when symptoms are severe, other treatments haven’t helped, or you have another problem, such as bladder damage. Different types of surgery are used to:
Most BPH surgery is done with tools inserted into the urethra.
Your provider can explain the possible benefits and side effects of your treatment options so you can decide what’s best for you.
Diagnosis Of Enlarged Prostate
The symptoms of BPH will often bring patients to their doctor, although the enlarged prostate can also be diagnosed during a routine digital rectal examination. Other common tests used to diagnose BPH include a urinalysis a urine flow study, which uses a device that measure the speed of the stream a transrectal ultrasound, which measures the size of the prostate gland and can help to rule out prostate cancer and a cystoscopy, in which a tube attached to a miniature camera enables the urologist to view the inside of the bladder and urethra to determine the prostates size and the level of obstruction.
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Signs Of An Enlarged Prostate
Your enlarged prostate may cause:
- The need to urinate more frequently, especially at night
- A more urgent need to urinate
- Trouble starting and stopping your urine stream
- A weak urine stream
- Difficulty fully emptying your bladder
- Urinary tract infections
With an enlarged prostate, something you once saw as simple urinating can become a more prominent and even more challenging part of your life.
Heres the good news: Youre not stuck with those symptoms.
What Are Enlarged Prostate Treatments
There are a wide variety of strategies for getting that prostate gland back to normal, according to Dr. Ramin. In less severe cases, he notes, it may be enough to limit coffee, tea, and sodacaffeine can stimulate the bladder and increase urinary frequency, which might be putting stress on the prostate.
In slightly more advanced situations, medications like alpha blockerswhich relax muscles in your bladder and prostate to make peeing easier, and alpha reductase inhibitors, which can shrink prostate growth, may be needed.
There are also minimally invasive treatment options like microwave therapy, Dr. Ramin says. In other cases, you may need to undergo resection of the prostate through laser therapy.
For markedly enlarged prostates, patients may need a robotic subtotal prostatectomy procedure.
The best treatment option really depends on a particular patients symptoms and results of testing, says Dr. Ramin. Not every patient with enlarged prostate is created equal, and not every treatment option is a good option for all patients.
So talk to your doctor about whats right for you. Just dont ignore the issue: Untreated enlarged prostate can lead to issues like incontinence, blood in your urinedue to inflammation from straining to peeand eventually, youre at risk for kidney damage, says Dr. Ramin.
Diagnosing An Enlarged Prostate
As with all incontinence conditions, a thorough diagnosis must be developed before action can be taken. You may have heard of some of these exams. And if you havent, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with them. Not only is knowledge power, but it also eliminates surprises.
Because those with BPH can experience symptoms from mild to severe, the treatment options featured here are organized from least invasive to more intense.
Personal And Family Medical History
Taking a personal and family medical history is one of the first things a health care provider may do to help diagnose benign prostatic hyperplasia. A health care provider may ask a man
- what symptoms are present
- when the symptoms began and how often they occur
- whether he has a history of recurrent UTIs
- what medications he takes, both prescription and over the counter
- how much liquid he typically drinks each day
- whether he consumes caffeine and alcohol
- about his general medical history, including any significant illnesses or surgeries
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Your Quality Of Life With An Enlarged Prostate
If your enlarged prostate symptoms are mild and not bothersome, there’s likely no need for treatment. One-third of men with mild BPH find that their symptoms clear up without treatment. They may just watch and wait.
However, when enlarged prostate symptoms are bothersome or are affecting your quality of life or overall health, it’s time to talk to your doctor about the treatment options. Together you will determine if you would benefit most from medication, a minimally invasive procedure, or surgery.
It’s important to talk with a doctor when you begin noticing changes in urinary function. You need to find out what’s going on so you can be treated for enlarged prostate if necessary. For many men, especially those who are young when the prostate starts growing, getting early treatment can head off complications later on.