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The male anatomy includes a prostate gland, which sits between the bladder and the penis. As one of the most common cancers in the UK, confirmed by the NHS, are you at risk?
Medical News Today explained the prostate has three main functions, which are:
- Producing the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm
- Secreting prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein that helps semen retain its liquid state
- Helping aid urine control
Speaking of urine control, “a frequent urge to urinate, especially at night” is one symptom of prostate cancer.
What is considered “frequent” urination?
The Bladder and Bowel community charity states if you need to go to the toilet “more than seven times a day” you might have a frequency problem.
“For most people, the normal number of times to urinate per day is between six to seven in a 24-hour period”.
However, due to individual variation, as little as four toilet trips to as many as 10 toilet trips in a day can still be considered normal.
The crucial element to determine if you require GP assistance is whether your “normal” had changed for you.
Medical News Today added that “painful urination” could also be a sign of prostate cancer.
Moreover, “difficulty starting and maintaining urination” may also be a symptom of the disease.
You also want to be on the lookout for “blood in urine or semen”, or “discomfort when sitting”.
The risk of prostate cancer increases after the age of 50, if you smoke, and if you’re obese.
Prostate cancer can grow slowly, and so the risk of life effects may outweigh the need for immediate treatment.
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Treatment options may include surgery to remove the prostate gland, known as a prostatectomy.
Radiation therapy could be an alternative, so could chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.
Prostate cancer – and its treatments – can decrease how fertile you are.
To reduce your risk of the disease, the Mayo Clinic suggest eating a healthy “diet full of fruits and vegetables”.
Another tip is to “exercise most days of the week” in order to help maintain your weight, or lose weight if necessary.
The NHS stated it’s “understandable to feel anxious” if you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer.
However, as the disease “usually progresses very slowly, you can live for decades without symptoms or needing treatment”.
Once urinary symptoms appear, it can be beneficial to practise pelvic floor exercises.
Pelvic floor exercises
“Pelvic floor exercises can strengthen your control over your bladder,” assured the NHS. Here are the instructions:
- Sit or lie comfortably, with your knees slightly apart.
- Squeeze or lift at the front as if you were trying to stop the passage of urine, then squeeze or lift at the back as if you were trying to stop the passage of wind.
- Hold this contraction for as long as you can (at least two seconds, increasing up to 10 as you improve).
- Relax for the same amount of time before repeating.
More severe urinary incontinence may be treated with an artificial sphincter.
This is inserted during surgery. To assess your individual needs, speak to your GP.
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