Prostate Health & Disease

The prostate gland has an important job: it produces a thick, milky-white fluid that becomes part of the semen, the liquid ejaculated during sexual activity. The gland isn't big—about the size of a walnut or golf ball—but its location virtually guarantees problems if something goes awry. The prostate gland is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also wraps around the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. That means prostate problems can affect urination and sexual function.

The prostate is prone to three main conditions:

Prostatitis: infection or inflammation of the prostate. Prostatitis can cause burning or painful urination, the urgent need to urinate, trouble urinating, difficult or painful ejaculation, and pain in the area between the scrotum and rectum (known as the perineum) or in the lower back.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia: aging-related enlargement of the prostate gland. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can make the prostate compress the urethra and slow or even stop the flow of urine, in much the same way that bending a garden hose chokes off the flow of water. BPH affects about three-quarters of men over age 60.

Prostate cancer: the growth of cancerous cells inside the prostate, which may break out of the gland and affect other parts of the body. In the United States, about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. It occurs mainly in older men.

Prostate Health & Disease Articles

ED pills and benign prostatic hyperplasia

Medications for erectile dysfunction (ED) may useful in treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), which include frequent urination and incontinence. Combination therapy of ED pills with an alpha blocker and a hormone blocker may reduce the risk of complications for men with large prostates and moderate to severe BPH. More »

Pot for the prostate?

Marijuana raises complex legal, social, and economic issues that overshadow the considerable medical controversies. Scientists are studying various cannabinoids, chemical compounds derived from the plant itself. Research from Spain raises the possibility that certain cannabinoids may someday have a role in managing prostate cancer. (Locked) More »

Medical memo: Cholesterol and prostate cancer

Ask men about their top health worries, and most will put cholesterol and prostate cancer high on the list. That's understandable, since unfavorable cholesterol levels contribute to heart attack and stroke, the first and fourth leading causes of death in America, and prostate cancer takes about 32,000 lives a year. Still, while most men understand the link between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, few suspect a link between cholesterol and cancer. Research is beginning to change that. (Locked) More »

Acupuncture for ED?

Research is beginning to consider the possibility that acupuncture may help some men with erectile dysfunction. Acupuncture merits more study, both in relation to ED and to a host of other purported uses.  Men who are attracted to "all-natural" therapies should work on lifestyle changes that can preserve or improve erectile function. (Locked) More »

Testosterone replacement: A cautionary tale

Testosterone therapy has been viewed as a way to counter the effects of aging where bone calcium declines, muscle mass decreases, body fat increases and red blood cell counts decline. But there is no proof that testosterone therapy will reverse these changes and its safety for older men remains controversial. A study found that men who took daily testosterone had a higher incidence of cardiovascular events. Its role in prostate disease, both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer is unresolved. (Locked) More »