The Happy Prostate

The words “happy” and “prostate” are strangers in the same sentence. If you are a male over age 50, the mood of your prostate is should be a concern.

When I visit the urologist, I am handed a survey inquiring of my rate and success of urination, particularly at night. Every patient gets the survey, not just me. The world is not interested in my peeing metrics.

At this time I should post a Warning, the language and humor ahead might be too frank for some more genteel readers. I will not think any less of you if you need to turn back. We’re adults and this is a medical blog – with a few adolescent remarks added for fun.

Of the male anatomy, the prostate’s general function is helping with semen transport. For technical support, I’ve contacted the Australian medical service to provide descriptor terminology. The prostate is an international issue, linking men across the globe in the battle against a weak stream.

Who knows the impact of the prostate in world history. Did civilizations fall because a leader went crazy from prostate problems? Generals went into battle and made poor decisions because of urination pain? Failure to procreate to continue a bloodline? Inconceivable (sorry, bad pun)! The care and treatment of prostate issues is a relatively new branch of medicine.

Identification of what is now known as the prostate was only made in the last two centuries, although it was noted as far back as Ancient Greece, but not understood. In the 1700s, French anatomist, Jean Riolan noted the connection between this “gland” and urinary discomfort. In the 1800s, prostate cancer was identified. It’s fair to say that the typical Greek male knew about as much as the 21st Century male who is apt to overlook discomfort or issues as long as the hydraulics work. Real men don’t go to the doctor for a little discomfort!

Understanding urinary problems and detecting prostate cancer has evolved in the past few decades. Yes, it is that recent. The prostate is somewhat of a mystery. No, it’s really not, although focus on quality of life is a huge consideration now. Difficulty peeing is not just an age thing that people have to adapt. Age is a factor, but not exclusively. That’s where some of the mystery comes in, medical knowledge is not comprehensive on prostate growth/reduction and cancer causes. With the baby boom generation aging, improved quality of life includes better urination. Thankfully, leeches are no longer used. In all seriousness, erectile dysfunction and anything to do with sex are huge business, and by association, matters of the prostate. Also, dying from very treatable prostate cancer is to be avoided.

What is a happy prostate? Over age 50, I’d say it is one that does not get in the way of basic functions. What are those functions? Being able to urinate without discomfort or struggle when you need to. This includes being able to completely empty you bladder, and not to feel like the dam is going to burst when you do. Sleeping though the night with minor inconvenience of needing to urinate. We can control part of this by curbing consumption early in the evening. If you are sucking down libations at midnight, prepare for trips to the bathroom. Hydraulics that work when the hormones sound the alarm. That, is a complicated issue that may involve more than the prostate, so I’ll just leave it at that. The prostate is part of the supply chain, so having a good team member is much appreciated.

If you are a male over age 50, get yourself check, annually. Yes, that sticky finger in your caboose, or gooseberry-grinder, as the British have been known to remark, is momentarily unpleasant, yet helps to identify a potential issue. A test for the prostate specific antigen (PSA) is also a measure of a protein which is made by your prostate and found in the blood.

I have been getting PSA tests annually or semi-annually for 15 years. Read my other blogs for my adventures in the realm of urology for what happens when your PSA spikes, and your prostate is unhappy. Unhappy prostate, unhappy life. Do not procrastinate. Do you know the feeling of needing to pee, yet you can’t? Or when you do, it hurts? Believe me, you do not want to experience it.

The happy prostate.

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