June 15-22 is Men’s Health Week, so it’s time to talk about prostate health!
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a walnut sized gland that sits below the bladder and produces majority of the fluid that makes up semen. It is normal for the prostate to grow as men age; however, as the prostate surrounds the urethra, this can cause difficulty urinating.
In Australia, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. It occurs when abnormal cells develop in the prostate and continue to multiply in an uncontrolled manner. Generally prostate cancer is slow growing, however high-grade disease can spread quickly.
Should you be getting checked?
Men over 50 years of age, or over 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, should talk to their doctor about screening for prostate cancer as a routine part of their annual check-up.
What symptoms should you ask your doctor about?
- Frequent or sudden urge to urinate
- Difficulty urinating eg. slow to start or weak flow
- Discomfort when urinating
- Blood in urine or semen
What about physiotherapy?
If you have pain in your lower back, thighs, or hips, talk to your PhysioPro. They are experts in diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal complaints. Your PhysioPro will refer you for further investigation if required.
Some men will undergo a procedure called a radical prostatectomy to remove their prostate. Up to 95% of men experience urinary leakage (incontinence) as a side effect of the surgery.
There is evidence that practicing an individualised pelvic floor exercise program both before and after surgery can help men to get drier, faster.
PhysioPro’s Sophie has completed post-graduate studies in continence and men’s health. She helps prepare patients for their prostatectomy surgery through education, use of real-time ultrasound (a non-invasive assessment technique), and prescription of pelvic floor exercises.
For more information on men’s health physiotherapy, please contact your local PhysioPro.