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Your Healthy Family: How much do you know about the prostate gland?

Posted at 2:06 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 16:06:22-04

As we continue through Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a good time to cover the basics of what the prostate is. Chances are that unless you went to medical school or know anatomy well most guys just know it’s “down there” and we don’t like to talk about it.

Dr. Gary Bong, MD, is a urologist with Pikes Peak Urology in Colorado Springs. Dr. Bong explains: “The prostate is mostly a reproductive organ in men. It’s also part of the urinary tract and we urinate through the center of the prostate.”

Where exactly down there, is the prostate located? Dr. Bong says, “The urethra runs through the center of the prostate and then it turns into the bladder. It sits in the pelvis right behind the pubic bone and right next to the rectum.”

Dr. Bong also says that there is more that can go wrong with the prostate than just cancer. “There are benign prostate diseases. The two most common that we see in the office are BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is the growth that occurs with the prostate over time that can cause urinary symptoms and urinary changes. The second most common thing we see is prostatitis which is simply an inflammation of the prostate, which can be either inflammatory or it can be a bacterial prostate infection. Both of these conditions can cause more sudden changes in how you’re urinating.

Dr. Bong says the early symptoms of BPH can come on slowly. “Guys will start to notice a slower stream, it might take a while to initiate urination or to make it stop and start, or dribble afterward. Then over time, over the course of many years, the bladder gets under stress from working harder than it wants to and the bladder becomes hyperactive and hypersensitive. Then guys transition into a new set of symptoms which is where they are peeing more frequently than they used to, rushing off to the bathroom quicker than they normally do, getting up at night to urinate, not feeling like they empty all the way, and if it gets bad enough they can even have accidents and wet their pants before they get to the bathroom in time. This is all considered under the spectrum of BPH.”

In our next story, Dr. Bong will talk about prostate cancer screenings and how to start a conversation with a loved one about prostate health.

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