Disease of the PROSTATE GLAND can aﬀect the ﬂow of URINE so that patients present with urological symptoms.
Prostatitis This can be either acute or chronic. Acute prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection, while chronic prostatitis may follow on from an acute attack, arise insidiously, or be non-bacterial in origin.
Symptoms Typically the patient has pain in the PERINEUM, groins, or supra pubic region, and pain on EJACULATION. He may also have urinary frequency, and urgency.
Treatment Acute and chronic prostatitis are treated with a prolonged course of antibiotics. Patients with chronic prostatitis may also require anti-inﬂammatory drugs, and antidepressants.
Prostatic enlargement This is the result of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), causing enlargement of the prostate. The exact cause of this enlargement is unknown, but it aﬀects 50 per cent of men between 40 and 59 years and 95 per cent of men over 70 years.
Symptoms These are urinary hesitancy, poor urinary stream, terminal dribbling, frequency and urgency of urination and the need to pass urine at night (nocturia). The diagnosis is made from the patient’s history; a digital examination of the prostate gland via the rectum to assess enlargement; and analysis of the urinary ﬂow rate.
Treatment This can be with tablets, which either shrink the prostate – an anti-androgen drug such as ﬁnasteride – or relax the urinary sphincter muscle during urination. For more severe symptoms the prostate can be removed surgically, by transurethral resection of prostate (TURP), using either electrocautery or laser energy. A new treatment is the use of microwaves to heat up and shrink the enlarged gland.
Cancer Cancer of the prostate is the fourth most common cause of death from cancer in northern European males: more than 10,000 cases are diagnosed every year in the UK and the incidence is rising by 3 per cent annually.
Little is known about the cause, but the majority of prostate cancers require the male hormones, androgens, to grow.
Symptoms These are similar to those resulting from benign prostatic hypertrophy (see above). Spread of the cancer to bones can cause pain. The use of a blood test measuring the amount of an ANTIGEN, PROSTATE SPECIFIC ANTIGEN (PSA), can be helpful in making the diagnosis – as can an ULTRASOUND scan of the prostate.
Treatment This could be surgical, with removal of the prostate (either via an abdominal incision, total prostatectomy, or transurethrally), or could be by radiotherapy. In more advanced cancers, treatment with anti-androgen drugs, such as cyprotexone acetate or certain oestrogens, is used to inhibit the growth of the cancer.