This Men’s Health Week, our expert Men’s Health consultants would like to share how you, your friend or family member can efficiently carry out a Men’s Health MOT from the comfort of home. But being aware of prostate and urinary health is always a great idea, not just limited to Men’s Health Week. This awareness may just save your life, or the life of someone you love.
First, it’s important to understand what the prostate is, how it works and why it’s important for men’s health.
What is the prostate? How does it work?
The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ that is about the size of a walnut, found at the base of the bladder. The prostate produces fluid which protects and sustains sperm. This fluid, and the sperm, travels through the ejaculatory ducts and into the urethra – a thin tube through which urine passes from the bladder and out of the penis. This runs through the prostate gland.
In a man’s life, the prostate experiences two main growth spurts. The first is during puberty, as a result of a surge in sex hormones produced by the testicles. At this point, the gland will reach an average weight of 20 grams in an adult. The second growth spurt typically happens when men reach their 30s. It continues to grow until men reach their 70s, up to an average weight of 40 grams.
Because of these changes, men may experience urinary issues as they age, potentially caused by inflammation or enlargement of the prostate. Not all men experience issues, and if they do, they are not always symptoms of prostate cancer. But, because early intervention can drastically improve the effectiveness of treatment, these issues should not be ignored.
How to do your own Men’s Health MOT
1. Understand your risk
You’ve probably already heard the statistic ‘1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer’. But being aware of your own personal risk, or that of your loved one, is also recommended. For example, if you are over 50, or if you are black, or if your brother or father have had prostate cancer, you are at even higher risk.
Check your risk in just 30 seconds with this handy tool produced by the Prostate Cancer UK charity. If you’re worried about a loved one, send them the link.
2. Be aware of your ‘normal’ and check-in regularly on your current health
Being mindful of your own urinary habits and what is normal for you will help you know when something might be wrong.
To check-in on your health at home, regularly ask yourself the below questions:
● Have you experienced difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder?
● Do you have weak flow when you urinate?
● Do you have a feeling that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly?
● Do you experience dribbling urine after you finish urinating?
● Are you needing to urinate more often than usual, perhaps during the night?
● Do you ever feel a sudden need to urinate?
● Do you have blood in your urine or semen?
● Do you have a fever, lower back pain or pain in the groin?
If any of the answers to these questions are ‘yes’, be sure to follow the next step. But don’t panic – not all symptoms mean that there is a problem, and symptoms become more likely as you age. However, it’s always worth speaking to a GP or going straight to a dedicated Men’s Health expert to be sure.
3. Seek a professional opinion if needed
Seeking professional medical advice can seem daunting, but what happens during a Men’s Health consultation is nothing to worry about. Here’s what typically happens during the consultation:
- Focused urological history exploring concerns of the man and family. This will cover any potential symptoms, changes and family history of urological issues
- An examination of the tummy, penis and testicles. If needed, an examination of the prostate through the back passage may be recommended
- Further tests may be recommended, as a back passage examination does not offer a full view of the prostate. These may include: a urinary flow test, flexible cystoscopy (camera into the bladder through the penis), a Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and other routine blood tests, urine analysis or MRI scan of the prostate. In some cases, if there is cause for concern, a prostate biopsy or other surgical procedures may be recommended.
The UK National Screening Committee doesn’t currently recommend screening for prostate cancer. This is because the PSA test is not reliable enough to detect prostate cancer that needs treatment. Because of this, a range of tests may be needed along with discussing the pros and cons of further investigation.
A Consultant will then summarise the results and put together a personalised care plan going forwards.
About our consultants
Mr Omar Al Kadhi, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Healthshare Clinic Norwich
Mr Al Kadhi is the Urology Cancer Lead and Chair of the Urology Cancer Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Meeting at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital.
Mr Al Kadhi completed his Specialist Urological training in the East of England gaining experience in General Urology and Urological Oncology. He spent the latter years of his training focusing on the management of urological cancers working in Cambridge and Norwich. Mr Al Kadhi undertook fellowship training in robotic surgical oncology at University College London Hospital (UCLH), one of the busiest Urological Robotic centres in the UK.
Mr Utsav Reddy, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Healthshare Clinic Norwich
Mr Reddy is an expert in Men’s Health and Prostatic disease including Benign Prostatic Enlargement and bothersome urinary symptoms (e.g., poor flow, frequency and urgency), including prostatitis as well as prostate cancer. As the joint lead for Prostate diagnostics at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), he has innovated new techniques to investigate and diagnose men with suspected prostate cancer.
Mr Reddy qualified from Imperial College London in 2008 and embarked on the South London and Kent/Surrey/Sussex Urology rotation for registrar training. This culminated in undertaking specialist training at the renowned Frimley Benign Prostate Clinical Research Centre.
Got concerns? Book a consultation with a Men’s Health expert
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