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Community Advocacy Organization

Prostate Health in Men: What to Look Out For

For some men, chances are after the age of 50, prostate-related symptoms can occur. That’s because over time the prostate, a small gland in men, grows larger with age. If the prostate becomes too large, it can cause a number of health issues.

“An enlarged prostate, often referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, can put pressure onto the urethra and bladder, causing your bladder to have to work harder, further increasing urinary symptoms and problems,” said Robert Dimitriou, MD, a urologist at Lansing Institute of Urology who performs urological surgery services at McLaren Greater Lansing.

Symptoms can include urgency and frequency of having to go to the bathroom, a weak stream when urinating, incontinence, or feeling like you have to go to the bathroom even after you just went. Because BPH leads to a weak bladder, it can cause a backflow of urine and more serious health issues such as reoccurring urinary tract infections, bladder stones, bladder and kidney infections, or ultimately kidney failure if left untreated.

“It’s important to seek evaluation right away the moment you start noticing symptoms. The sooner we can diagnose, the sooner we can look at treatment options that can reduce more problems later on,” said Dr. Dimitriou.

During your doctor visit, you should go over any concerns you have, including family history. This includes what symptoms you are experiencing, how long you have had them, and how much they are affecting your lifestyle (such as sleep interruptions due to frequent bathroom trips). A simple blood test will also be collected called the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. This test measures a protein made by your prostate. A high PSA level can indicate a prostate condition such as BPH and may also show signs of other conditions, such as prostate cancer.

“While BPH is not an indicator and does not increase the risk of prostate cancer, routine treatment of BPH has allowed us to early detect prostate cancer in some men leading to faster and more effective treatment options,” said Dr. Dimitriou.

It’s important for men to know their family history, continue with routine doctor visits, and schedule an appointment if symptoms change. Men who have family members who have been diagnosed with BPH or prostate cancer are more at risk to develop prostate problems and should discuss with their primary care provider how to safely monitor.

There’s no one size-fits-all solution when it comes to treatment of BPH. Depending on the severity, an enlarged prostate can be treated with medications that help shrink the prostate or relax muscles near the prostate to ease symptoms (called alpha blockers). If symptoms worsen over time, other treatments may be needed and can range from minimally-invasive procedures, such as the UroLift® System, to more surgical interventions, such as TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate). Talk to your doctor about what options are available based on your diagnosis and progression of symptoms.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dimitriou, click here.

For more articles on health and wellness, click here.


About McLaren Greater Lansing

McLaren Greater Lansing, is a tertiary teaching facility with 240 acute care beds, located in Lansing, Michigan on the southern edge of the Michigan State University campus. McLaren Greater Lansing moved to the new hospital building located at the new healthcare campus in Spring 2022. Among its services are a Level III Trauma Center/Emergency Department, Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute, comprehensive cardiac programs, medical/surgical units, and state-of-the-art women and children’s health services including a modern birthing center. Also located at the healthcare campus is the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Greater Lansing and Outpatient Care Center.

Residency programs are affiliated with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and the Statewide Campus System. Residencies include family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, anesthesiology, and obstetrics/gynecology. Fellowships are offered in cardiology, hematology/oncology, gastroenterology, and pulmonary critical care. McLaren Greater Lansing also participates in a city wide residency programs in emergency medicine, neurology, urology, psychiatry, and physical and rehabilitation medicine.

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