This is the first in a series of articles where we will discuss the prostate and problems that
may arise from it, how to diagnose and treat them, as well as preventive measures.
“Excuse me! Where is the restroom here please?”
He asked the receptionist immediately as we entered the lobby. My husband turned to me.
“My dear, please go ahead. I’ll meet you at the hall.”
This is the 3rd occasion we are going to attend today and he has gone to the loo at least
twice in each venue. This was becoming quite embarrassing.
I had to let him be because the last time we went out together, he accidentally peed on
himself. He said he thought he had finished after he left the restroom, alas he was wrong. I
felt responsible and guilty because I had become visibly upset with him for his incessant long
trips to the loo.
My gut feelings tell me this might be something serious, so I booked him an appointment
with our family doctor.
I was right! Something was wrong. The doctor says he has prostate problems.
This scenario above is a common occurrence among middle-aged and elderly men.
What is prostate?
The prostate is an organ that surrounds the upper part of the pipe (urethra) that takes urine
from the storage tank (urinary bladder) out of your body. It is shaped like a palm kernel and is a part of the male reproductive organ. It is connected to the urethra through little openings called ducts. Although an equivalent structure is present in females called skene’s glands, diseases that affect it are rare in comparison with diseases of the prostate in males, which are quite common.
What does the prostate do in the body?
The prostate produces a liquid that is mixed with sperm and released during ejaculation.
Semen or seminal fluid is a combination of this fluid from the prostate and other glands and sperm cells from the testes.
The secretion of this fluid is of great importance because it helps the sperm cells stay lubricated and nourished to keep them alive until they get to the female reproductive system
where they can fertilize the egg. This fluid is alkaline in nature and neutralizes the acidic juices produced by the vagina.
Prostate also plays a role in preventing the backflow of semen into the urinary bladder
during sexual climax (retrograde ejaculation).
Warning signs of prostate problems
Various prostate problems may arise including infections, increase in size, and cancer. Due
to the location of the prostate, diseases affecting it would mostly affect the urinary tract
thereby producing the following symptoms.
1) Urgency: Sudden urge to pass urine which cannot be postponed without accidentally
peeing on one’s self.
2) Frequency: The need to urinate often at short intervals. This causes frequent trips to
3) Nocturia: The need to pass urine frequently at night. This may impair adequate sleep.
4) Hesitancy: This means that it takes longer than usual for the urine to start coming out
when you are ready to urinate.
5) Straining: While waiting for the urine to come out, you may have to push to initiate it
and also to maintain the flow until you have emptied your bladder.
6) Dribbling: Loss of little amount of urine which comes out without any push after you
have finished urinating.
7) Decreased urinary stream: The force with which the urine flows out of your urethra
8) Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying: This feels like there is residual urine but it
doesn’t come out despite straining.
9) Haematuria: Red color urine because it’s mixed with blood.
10) Lower abdominal pain
11) Low back pain
12) Leg pain and swelling
13) Pain during ejaculation
14) Pain in the penis and scrotum
16) Muscle pains
17) Loss of appetite
18) Weight loss
19) Painful urination
20) Discharge from the penis which could be white, yellow, or red and painful.
21) Inability to get an erection (erectile dysfunction)
In subsequent weeks, we will examine the different types of prostate problems, and how they can
be discovered on time, how to treat them, and prevention.