Myths about prostate

23.11.2018 14:47:09

Myth 1: The prostate is not involved in sex life

Wrong. This organ plays an important role during sexual intercourse. Here is an explanation for lovers of technology ‒ the prostate gland in the body actually performs the function of the nozzle. When its muscles contract, ejaculation occurs. “About a third of the sperm composition is formed in the prostate gland,” explains Professor Lutz Troyan, Director of the Urology Clinic at the University of Göttingen. First and foremost, the secretion of the prostate promotes easy movement of spermatozoa. It dilutes the ejaculate and stimulates the movement of sperm. “Accordingly, the gland is important for conception,” says the urologist. But with age, the prostate becomes a weak point in men. It tends to grow. It is a problem since the gland is located under the bladder, where it covers the urethra. If the prostate gland grows, the urethra becomes narrow for urine. It leads to urinary difficulties.

Myth 2: Frequent sex is good for the prostate

No one knows for sure. If we are talking about problems in the lower abdomen, the question is ‒ what is the role of sex? “There are several studies on this issue,” says Troyan. The matter has not been cleared up yet because it is often impossible to measure sexuality with scientific methods. In most cases research is based on the question “How often did you have sex?” Not everyone gives an honest answer.

The results are very different. For example, one study conducted by the University of Nottingham indicates that frequent sex in youth increases the risk of prostate cancer. Most other studies suggest the opposite. Those who often have sex or pleasure themselves suffer from the disease less often. Troyan says, “At least, sex is not harmful.” It does not affect the benign enlargement of the prostate gland.

Myth 3: Only the enlarged prostate causes problems

The urologist Dr. Matthias Olca thinks that it is wrong. The occurrence of urinary difficulties depends not only on the size of the prostate. “The gland is greatly enlarged in some men, and despite it, they have no problems,” says the specialist of the Urology Department at the Hanover Medical School.

Unfortunately, there is a downside. In some men, the prostate grows primarily inward. In such cases, even a small increase in tissue volume can have unpleasant consequences. Therefore, the decision whether to treat it is not dependent on the size, but on the symptoms.

Myth 4: A weak urine stream is harmless

In most cases it is, but not always. Getting older, many men spend more time in the toilet. “It is absolutely normal,” says Olka. The reason is not the prostate. The bladder muscles also become flabbier. If the force of the stream drastically weakens, or urges to urinate often awaken the man at night, it is necessary to consult an urologist. Frequent urges to urinate is a typical sign of a highly narrowed urethra.

And it is not always harmless. To compensate for this narrowing, the muscles of the bladder become thicker. The longer you endure, the greater the pain will become, and at some point it will be difficult to cope with it. “Timely treatment can prevent this problem,” says Troyan.

Besides, if left untreated, the enlarged prostate can unexpectedly occlude the urethra. You need to urinate but can’t. “It is very, very painful,” continues Troyan. If the urine stagnates, the kidneys can suffer.

Myth 5: An enlarged prostate means high risk of cancer

Wrong. If the doctor diagnoses an increase, there is no reason to panic. “A benign increase is not the initial stage of a tumour,” says Troyan. It also does not increase the risk of cancer. While with a benign prostate enlargement the number of cells in the inner part of the gland increases faster, the tumour occurs in most cases in the marginal zone of the organ. Thus, cancer rarely declares itself by urinary tract problems. However, both diseases can occur in one patient.

Myth 6: High PSA means that I have cancer

No. There are many reasons for such test results. To detect prostate cancer early, many urologists recommend having a PSA test. The doctor takes the blood and sends it to the laboratory to determine the presence of a specific protein, prostate-specific antigen, PSA in short.

When a high level of PSA is found, many men get very scared. “In most cases, it doesn’t mean any tumour,” Troyan believes. PSA is produced by every healthy prostate cell. This is a component of the gland secretion. A small part of PSA also enters the blood.

A high level can have many causes, and only one of them is cancer. The reason for it may be some kind of inflammation. Sometimes, absolutely healthy men show a high PSA level. Therefore, the course of the disease is more evident than a separate test. “If the PSA level is increasing, it is necessary to find out the reasons,” advises Olka.

Myth 7: Urology examinations are very unpleasant

It is a common wrong belief throughout the world, because of which many men delay a visit to the doctor. As Olka’s observations show, men find their way to the doctor on average only when the disease has been developing for a year. The doctor Olke can understand this fear. However, it is not needed because a visit to the urologist, as a rule, passes quickly and painlessly. In this case, palpation of the prostate gland through the rectum is a standard procedure. It is a short press, about ten seconds long. To assess the size of the gland, the doctor may perform an ultrasound examination. A probe is inserted into the rectum. It also lasts no more than a minute. It is absolutely harmless ‒ uroflowmetry. In this case, the man just urinates in a special urinal.

Myth 8: Cycling is harmful to men

Nonsense. No man should leave the saddle to protect his potency or prostate. But why do some urologists advise not to go to the clinic by bicycle? Because presumably PSA levels may rise, even if only slightly. “During a bike ride, a man actually sits on the prostate,” explains Olka. The saddle puts pressure on the organ, which, according to some studies, increases the level slightly in the short term, as in cases of ejaculation or palpation of the prostate, though.

But if the level is very high, it is clear that it is not the fault of the bicycle. Actually cyclists have not shown any strong increase in PSA levels during testing. If numbness is felt in the genital area after cycling, a wider saddle or a saddle with a hole in the centre can help. It will reduce the pressure on the perineum.

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