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The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder, the organ that stores urine. When the prostate gland becomes enlarged, it can interfere with the flow of urine
If the prostate becomes enlarged, it can place pressure on the bladder and urethra (the tube through which urine passes).
This can affect how you pee and may cause:
- difficulty starting to urinate
- a frequent need to urinate
- difficulty fully emptying your bladder
The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown, but it is believed to be linked to hormonal changes as a man gets older.
The balance of hormones in your body changes as you get older and this may cause your prostate gland to grow.
Treating benign prostate enlargement
Treatment for an enlarged prostate will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
If you have mild symptoms, you won’t usually need immediate treatment but you’ll have regular prostate check-ups.
You’ll probably also be advised to make lifestyle changes, such as:
- drinking less alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks
- limiting intake of artificial sweeteners
- exercising regularly
- drinking less in the evening
- Medication to reduce the size of the prostate and relax your bladder may be recommended.
Complications of prostate enlargement
Benign prostate enlargement can sometimes lead to complications such as:
- urinary tract infection
- acute urinary retention
- Acute urinary retention (AUR) is the sudden inability to pass any urine.
Symptoms of AUR include:
- suddenly not being able to pee at all
- severe lower abdominal pain
- swelling of the bladder that you can feel with your hands.
How Prostate Cancer Affects Your Life as a Young Man
Prostate cancer may affect many different parts of your life. Below are some ways prostate cancer may affect you and what you can do manage these changes.
- Relationship Changes with Partner
Prostate cancer is often referred to as “couple’s cancer” because it affects not only the man but also their partner. Family dynamics and role changes may occur. Talk to your partner about these changes and how you two can manage them together.
Remember, allowing others to assist you, not only helps you, but can help those who care about you feel needed. It’s a good idea to have more than one person to support you though this journey. The support can come from a partner, friend, family member or even colleague. Accept and ask for help when you need it. Start by writing down all the things you do each day, how long each task takes and who might be the best person to assist with it. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do during your cancer journey. Asking and accepting help is a sign of strength and can alleviate stress.
- Sexual Relationships
Many prostate cancer treatments can affect libido, body image, ability to have an erection and to father children. The good news is that many of these side effects can be managed through different treatments. Some suggestions for managing sexual changes include:
Talk to your healthcare team if you’re experiencing any sexual side effects. They can suggest treatment options.
Discuss any changes and or concerns, with your current or future partner, and work together to figure out how these issues can be resolved and what you can do to maintain intimacy.
Be open, realistic and honest while you manage expectations and explore different methods of maintaining intimacy.
Don’t give up. Some treatments can take a long time but with patience and persistence your sex life can be fulfilling. If one method doesn’t work for you, try a different one.
- Fathering Children
As a younger man, having children may be important to you. Some prostate cancer treatments can affect your ability to have children. If infertility may be a side effect of your treatment, talk to your doctor about sperm banking (having some of your sperm stored in a clinic) before you begin prostate cancer treatments.
- Work and Finances
As a younger man, you may be in the prime years of your career. Prostate cancer can affect your job and earnings. This can be a major source of stress for men who have a mortgage, dependent children, or other financial commitments.
Talk to the human resource staff at your place of employment about employment standards in your province or territory and about your medical benefits at your company. Ask what resources are available to you, such as counselling through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
If you’re thinking about returning to work after completing your treatment, this may be a big positive step in your life. While you might look forward to re-establishing your usual routine, it’s also understandable if you feel anxious or worried. Keep in mind having a return-to-work plan can help make the transition easier. More information about returning to work can be found here.
The bad news is all men are prone to experience it.
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