October 25, 2008

How To Tell If You Have An Enlarged Prostate

No matter how physically healthy or unhealthy you are, if you're a man over the age of forty-five, there is a 50 percent chance you have prostate enlargement. Doctors call it benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

That's right... a 50% chance!

The symptoms of an enlarged prostate are often painful, embarrassing, and frustrating. The most common symptoms are:

* A frequent and often urgent need to urinate
* A frustrating inability to completely empty the bladder
* A weak urine stream, and painful or bloody urination.

But the most frustrating symptom is the frequent nighttime urge to urinate that results in sleep-disrupting visits to the bathroom.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you're not alone. Each year, as many as 12 million American men suffer from symptoms of prostate enlargement http://www.prostatehealthtips.com/prostate-enlargement.html that are so agonizing they are forced to seek medical treatment!

In fact, in America today, four out of five American men are likely to develop prostate problems during their lifetime. And those problems aren't limited to BPH. Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) can occur in males of any age after puberty. And, unfortunately, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among American males, developed by 19 out of every 100 men.

Yes, the statistics are frightening. According to Michael B. Schachter, M.D. in The Natural Way to a Healthy Prostate, it is estimated that "the prostate gland accounts for more than 5.5 million doctor visits, 950,000 hospitalizations and 43,500 prostate-related deaths a year."

Until recently, your first line of defense against BPH was conventional drugs or surgery, most of which came with a laundry list of horrifying side-effects that include permanent impotence, incontinence, and even death!

The good news is... there are now natural treatments available to treat prostate conditions that are safe, effective alternatives to these conventional prescription drugs or surgery.

But if you suspect you are suffering from prostate problems, the very first thing to do is have your doctor or urologist accurately diagnose your condition.

There are several examinations to detect prostate enlargement and/or other prostate conditions. Some of these methods are referred to by their initials.

Digital Rectal Exam

Digital rectal exam (or DRE) is usually the first test done. And it's just what it says: your doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum and feels the part of the prostate next to the rectum. A DRE exam can give a general idea of the size and condition of the gland, but it's not highly reliable in detecting prostate enlargement, since the part of the prostate that presses on the urethra can't be felt by DRE. It is, however, more useful in diagnosing prostatitis or detecting prostate cancer.

PSA Test

These are initials you'll hear tossed around a lot in relation to prostates. They stand for Prostate Specific Antigen, a protein produced by both benign and malignant prostate cells. The PSA test measures the amount of this protein in the blood. Heightened PSA levels can occur in BPH, prostatitis and prostate cancer. The test is not highly reliable, but it is considered to be more useful in detecting prostate cancer than BPH or prostatitis. Nevertheless, it's a part of the alphabet you should be familiar with.

Urinary Flow Rate Measurement

The patient urinates into a special device that measures how quickly urine is flowing. The peak flow rateÑwhen the urine is flowing fastestÑis a more specific indication of BPH than the average rate of flow. Ultrasound This is usually only used if there is a suspicion of prostate cancer. A probe in the rectum directs sound waves at the prostate, and echo patterns of those waves form an image of the prostate on a display screen.

American Urologic Association Symptom Index

The American Urologic Association has developed a symptom index (AUASI) that has become the standard test to assess symptoms of BPH.

This symptom index is a series of questions that help determine the severity of urinary symptoms and is used by urologists around the country.

If you are looking for any more specific information about how to tell if you have an enlarged prostate or what steps you need to take if you do, please feel free to visit our web site.

James Witman is an expert in nutrition and prostate health. He has written many articles related to prostate health and other health conditions that affect men. To learn more, please visit his website www.prostatehealthtips.com.

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October 10, 2008

Providing Emotional Support For Prostate Cancer Patients

Providing Emotional Support For Prostate Cancer Patients

After colorectal and lung cancer, prostate cancer is the third killer cancer in the U.S. Current statistics reveal 1 out of 6 American men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in their life. Prostate cancer typically causes a lot of discomfort, with symptoms including blood in the urine, weakness and numbness in legs and feet, pain in the spine, ribs and other bones, and loss of bladder or bowel control. In the majority of cases, patients are irritable and emotional.

When diagnosed with any type of cancer, even the most even-tempered of men experience emotional and psychological change. Symptoms and their treatments bring fear and discomfort. Any support from family and friends is so essential to those with cancer, but even the family can become affected when a member is diagnosed with cancer. People close to the victim will find it tough to admit the fact a loved one has cancer and could possibly die.

Family members and friends should try to keep in mind that the biggest weight of suffering is placed on the patient himself. He is thinking about the possibility of dying, suffering from pain and loss of autonomy. The focus should be not on you own stresses and troubles, but on the patient's.

Family members' anxieties will communicate itself to the patient and probably provoke further emotional decline. If you stay strong and express a positive attitude when with the patient, it can make both of you feel better. Acknowledge to him that you care and understand how difficult things are. Reassure him you will always be there no matter what.

It can be emotionally and physically draining to deal with a prostate cancer patient, particularly if you are close to the person. The ones most affected besides the patient is the wife, and they are the person who is most looked to for reassurance.

Men with prostate cancer frequently make difficult demands of family or caregivers. A chain smoking patient, for example, might ask for a cigarette and then threaten to not take his medication when not given a cigarette.

Some employ emotional manipulation, saying he is going to die anyway, so why not let him have one last pleasure. Use your gut feeling on when or when not to give in, listening with your heart. Most often, they only want a little reassurance from you.

Above all, try to keep seeing them as the person they are, not as a cancer patient. Without denying the reality of what they are going through, connect to the man you knew before they were diagnosed.

For information on prostate cancer symptoms and prostate treatment surgery, visit Medopedia.com

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