Symptoms of prostate problems
Prostate conditions often cause problems with urination or bladder control. These may include the following:
- poor bladder control, including frequent bathroom visits
- urinary urgency, sometimes with only a small amount of urine
- difficulty starting the urine stream, or stopping and starting the stream while urinating
- a weak or thin urine stream
Prostate problems can also cause problems with sexual function, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or in extreme cases, kidney failure.
If a person is unable to urinate at all, they should seek medical attention immediately.
A person should see their doctor if they notice any of the following symptoms:
- pain while urinating or after ejaculation
- pain in the penis, scrotum, or the area between the scrotum and anus
- blood in the urine
- severe discomfort in the abdomen
- a weak urine stream or dribbling at the end of urinating
- fever, chills, or body aches
- trouble controlling the bladder, such as stopping or delaying urination
- unable to empty your bladder completely
- urine with an unusual odor or color
It’s not clear what causes prostate cancer.
Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate develop changes in their DNA. A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living, when other cells would die.
The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. In time, some abnormal cells can break away and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:
- Older age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age. It’s most common after age 50.
- Race. For reasons not yet determined, Black people have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do people of other races. In Black people, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
- Family history. If a blood relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
- Obesity. People who are obese may have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared with people considered to have a healthy weight, though studies have had mixed results. In obese people, the cancer is more likely to be more aggressive and more likely to return after initial treatment.
Complications of prostate cancer and its treatments include:
- Cancer that spreads (metastasizes). Prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs, such as your bladder, or travel through your bloodstream or lymphatic system to your bones or other organs. Prostate cancer that spreads to the bones can cause pain and broken bones. Once prostate cancer has spread to other areas of the body, it may still respond to treatment and may be controlled, but it’s unlikely to be cured.
- Incontinence. Both prostate cancer and its treatment can cause urinary incontinence. Treatment for incontinence depends on the type you have, how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve over time. Treatment options may include medications, catheters and surgery.
- Erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can result from prostate cancer or its treatment, including surgery, radiation or hormone treatments. Medications, vacuum devices that assist in achieving erection and surgery are available to treat erectile dysfunction.