The prostate is a small, unpaired organ located in the pelvic cavity just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra passes through the thickness of the prostate gland.
The structure and function of the prostate gland
The prostate is made up of smooth muscle fibers and secretory cells. The main function of the gland is to secrete secretions that are involved in the liquefaction of ejaculate, ensuring the movement of sperm and protecting them from the aggressive environment of the vagina. The prostate gland is also a valve that prevents urine from leaking out during ejaculation and semen during urination.
The weight of the prostate of a healthy adult man is only about 20 years. The hormones of the pituitary gland and adrenal glands, androgens, estrogens have a great influence on her condition. During life, the size of the prostate can change: in boys it is small, during puberty the prostate increases dramatically. When the secretion of hormones begins to fade (usually this occurs at the age of 45-50 years), usually begins the reverse development of the gland.
However, the opposite process often occurs - benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate adenoma.
What is a prostate adenoma?
This disease has many synonyms: prostate adenoma, benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign nodular prostatic hypertrophy and others.
The name reflects the essence of the pathological processes taking place in the gland: the glandular tissue grows, forming dense nodules. The size of the prostate increases, which causes compression of the urethra and spasm of smooth muscle cells. This leads to the appearance of symptoms of the disease.
The size of the prostate has no direct effect on urinary damage. Symptoms may be absent with a significant increase or appear in the early stages of the disease.
BPH has benign growth, ie does not metastasize. This fundamentally distinguishes BPH from prostate cancer. The main starting point for the occurrence of malignant transformation of the prostate gland is the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
The causes of BPH
According to statistics, men under the age of 30 usually have no signs of BPH. With age, the incidence of BPH increases, reaching a peak in the ninth decade of life (90%).
The causes of prostate adenoma are not yet fully understood. Prostate adenoma is thought to be multifactorial in nature. The role of the male sex hormone testosterone has long been known both in the normal growth of the prostate gland and in the development of BPH. It is known that men aged 40 to 50 years have a period of the deepest restructuring of hormonal regulation, while there is a decrease in the level of testosterone circulating in the blood. The decrease in the amount of testosterone and the relative increase in the level of estrogen (female sex hormones) in the male body leads to the growth of the prostate gland.
The change in hormonal ratios in a man's body is a starting point in the study of the causes and mechanism of development of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In addition to hormonal disorders, the inflammatory process accompanied by prostate edema is important for the development of prostate adenoma, as it can play an important role in increasing the number of prostate cells, and organ edema, as a mechanical factor, contributes toaggravation of the symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms of prostate adenoma
Enlargement of the prostate gland leads to compression of the urethra and causes spasm of smooth muscles. This process is accompanied by impaired urination:
- the need to wake up at night to empty the bladder;
- reducing the tension of urine flow;
- feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder after urination;
- the appearance of difficult retention of the urge to urinate;
- increased urination during the day;
- urination with a small volume.
The above symptoms are often accompanied by difficulty at the beginning of the act of urination, which is more pronounced in the morning and makes you start urinating. These symptoms are a reason to seek medical help.
Treatment of prostate adenoma
The course of the disease significantly impairs the quality of life and lack of adequate treatment can cause surgery. Given the progressive nature of this disease, drug therapy for BPH should be carried out for a long time. Depending on the prevalence of symptoms, therapy can vary considerably. Pharmacotherapy eliminates urinary tract problems, reduces complaints and restores quality of life. You should also be aware that prostate adenoma can be asymptomatic or cause non-specific urinary tract problems that do not resemble the classic picture of the disease. This misleads patients and makes them waste valuable time. But the earlier you start treatment, the more effective it is.
Prevention of BPH
There are currently no specific methods of prevention. One of the preventive measures is the annual visit to the urologist after 40 years. During the meeting, the doctor will be able to assess the symptoms, perform the necessary examination and prescribe effective treatment.