Men's Health Archive


Pain beyond the prostate

Consider alternative therapies for chronic pelvic pain.

Prostatitis means pain and swelling near the prostate gland. If the cause is a bacterial infection, antibiotics can often clear up the problem. But for 90% or more of men with pain near the prostate, it isn't that simple. The pain and soreness is more widespread, affecting the groin, genitals, and area behind the scrotum. Some men even develop nausea and other flu-like symptoms. Doctors call it chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS).

It is sometimes misdiagnosed as bacterial prostatitis and treated (unsuccessfully) with antibiotics. Doctors can offer no cure that works reliably in all men. "It's a tough problem because there's just not a lot out there," says Dr. Michael O'Leary, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and a urologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

New treatment option for prostate cancer that has spread to the bones

The radioactive element radium has been used to treat cancer since soon after its discovery in 1898 by Marie Curie and her husband, Pierre. And it’s still finding new uses—a recently approved form of radium, radium-223 (Xofigo), is now being used to treat prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. Researchers say that Xofigo addresses “an unmet need” in men with this type of prostate cancer, since current therapies don’t work very well against it.

Prostate help: A test that can help you avoid unnecessary prostate biopsies

When you've already had a biopsy and your PSA remains high, the PCA3 urine test can help you and your doctor to decide if another biopsy is really needed.

Prostate biopsy is not an experience you want to go through without a good reason. Although some men weather it with only moderate pain and discomfort, other men would prefer the first biopsy to be their last. Now, a urine test called PCA3 can help reduce unnecessary biopsies.

Earlier start with medication may slow BPH symptoms

A drug used to treat an enlarged prostate may prevent worsening of the condition in men with mild or no symptoms, a study in BMJ finds.

Noncancerous enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is often treated with medications—usually after the onset of BPH symptoms, such as difficulty at starting urination, straining to empty the bladder, and having to get up frequently at night to urinate. Can taking a drug sooner help to prevent the condition from getting worse?

Healthy fats may fight early-stage prostate cancer

Each year, nearly a quarter of a million American men learn they have prostate cancer. Most are diagnosed with early-stage cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate gland. Traditional treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and a “watch and wait” strategy called active surveillance. A new study published online this week in JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that diet may be an important add-on. The study, part of the ongoing Harvard-based Health Professionals Follow-up Study, suggests that eating more foods that deliver healthy vegetable oils can help fight the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Earlier studies have implicated the traditional Western diet, which is relatively high in red meat and other sources of animal fats, with a higher risk for developing prostate cancer in the first place, while eating more vegetable oils and vegetable protein may help prevent it.

Should you take an erectile dysfunction drug to also ease urinary woes?

We think not. Standard medications to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate are still the best first choice for men.

Difficulties with urination become more and more common in men over age 50. Often the cause is the noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland—benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. As the prostate puts pressure on the urinary plumbing, men experience symptoms such as difficulty starting urination, straining to empty the bladder, and having to get up frequently at night to urinate (nocturia). Some men try to live with it, but at some point they may feel the need to explore medical solutions.

Recognizing the “unusual” signs of depression

People tend to think that the telltale sign of depression is sadness—a pervasive down, dragging feeling that won’t let up, day after day. But depression often manifests itself as something else entirely—like aches and pains or memory lapses. These “unusual” symptoms are actually quite common. They can mask depression—and delay an important diagnosis—especially in older people, who often display their depression in ways other than sadness. These include trouble sleeping, lack of energy, fatigue, trouble concentrating or remembering, loss of appetite, and aches and pains that don’t go away. If you have one or more of these symptoms that can’t be traced to an illness or ailment, a frank talk with a trusted doctor about the possibility of depression might be a good step forward.

High-dose vitamin C linked to kidney stones in men

File this under “if a little bit is good, a lot isn’t necessarily better:” taking high-dose vitamin C appears to double a man’s risk of developing painful kidney stones. In an article published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine, Swedish researchers detail a connection between kidney stone formation and vitamin C supplements among more than 23,000 Swedish men. Over an 11-year period, about 2% of the men developed kidney stones. Men who reported taking vitamin C supplements were twice as likely to have experienced the misery of kidney stones. Use of a standard multivitamin didn’t seem to up the risk. Many people believe that extra vitamin C can prevent colds, supercharge the immune system, detoxify the body, protect the heart, fight cancer, and more. To date, though, the evidence doesn’t support claims that extra vitamin C is helpful. If high-dose vitamin C doesn’t improve health, then any hazard from it, even a small one, is too much.

When drugs for erectile dysfunction don't work: What's next?

Here are the alternatives to oral erectile dysfunction drugs. Solutions are available for most men's needs.

Thanks to a lot of direct-to?consumer advertising, most American men of a certain age know to ask about the "little blue pill" or similar medications if they develop erectile dysfunction (ED). These drugs enhance blood flow to the spongy tissues in the penis, which creates an erection. However, the drugs don't work for about 30% of men. Then what?

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