The Prostate gland is a male sex organ, and is shaped like the green almond fruit. Imagine a tube running through the center of the fruit from top to bottom. The urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of the body, can be likened to the tube passing through the almond fruit (used here to illustrate the prostate). The prostate is about 8cm deep from the skin behind the scrotum. It is just in front of the rectum, so a finger inserted into the rectum can actually touch it. This is how Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) is done by the Urologist to feel the consistency and size of the prostate. The prostate weighs about 20g. When enlarged, it could actually become as big as a small tangerine, guava or actually as big as an orange fruit. An enlarged prostate blocks the flow of urine which could cause infection and even kidney failure. Most men as they approach the age of 60 will begin to show signs of a condition called Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. Some can actually have symptoms before the age of 50.
Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH), is a major cause of urinary obstruction amongst males in Nigeria. BPH is an ordinary enlargement that is not due to cancer but is obstructing the urine flow nonetheless.
Even though BPH is more common in males above the age of 60, it is advised that men above the age of 40 have annual prostate exam. This is because the symptoms of BPH are often very mild at first, but they become more serious if they aren’t treated. Some common symptoms include:
• Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
• Nocturia, (which is the need to urinate two or more times per night)
• Dribbling at the end of your urinary stream
• Incontinence, or leakage of urine
• The need to strain when urinating
• A weak urinary stream
• A sudden urge to urinate, which you cannot postpone even in an inappropriate environment
• A slowed or delayed urinary stream
• Painful urination
• Blood in the urine
Whenever an adult male shows any of the above symptoms, they are strongly advised to visit a Urologist for a routine check. BPH if discovered early can be managed and even treated as an outpatient issue.