The prostate gland is a male only excretory gland that sits below the bladder and wraps around the urine tube (urethra). The gland is situated immediately below the bladder, in front of the rectum, and above the urinary sphincter muscles (which keeps you dry). The gland forms from within the male urethra and grows from puberty onwards, at different rates between different men.
The prostate gland is responsible for producing a number of substances relating to sexual activity, particularly the ejaculatory fluid that gives sperm their viability and nutrition. The urethra and ejaculatory ducts pass through the prostate gland. After prostate surgery, these ducts can be altered and the volume of gland tissue is reduced, thus the normal volume and flow of semen can be altered.
In the early stages, symptoms of prostate cancer are very rare. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
- Blood in the urine “haematuria”
- Blood in the semen “haematospermia”
- Slowing of the urinary flow
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Erectile dysfunction
- Persistent erection “wooden penis”
- Bone aches & pains
Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland, and may be due to either bacterial infection of an inflammatory response without a clear bacterial cause. Acute prostatitis may present with temperatures, difficulty passing urine and deep-seated pelvic pain. Chronic prostatitis tends not to have a fever, but may be associated with chronic pelvic pain and difficulties with passing urine.
Symptoms may include:
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the ejaculate
- Difficulty passing urine
- Need for emergency catherization
- Sore, swollen testicle
- Pain (pelvis, abdominal, perineal, or scrotal)
Potential risk factors include:
- Bladder outlet obstruction
- Urinary tract infections
- Acute epididymitis
- Intraprostatic ductal reflux
- Unprotected insertive anal intercourse
- Urinary catheters
For patients with recurrent prostatitis, surgical treatment with a TURP may be curative.