Understanding the Prostate Gland as it Ages

Although the prostate may be out of site, it should not be out of mind. Men have a gland, which is located underneath the bladder and just above the rectum, called the prostate gland. It is said to be approximately the size of a small plum or somewhat bigger than a walnut. The prostate gland, shaped like a donut, encases a part of the urethra. The urethra is the canal that carries the urine and the semen to the exterior opening of the penis.

Function of  the Prostate Gland

Scientists still are not sure of all the functions of the prostate. However, they do know that a main function, when the prostate contracts, is to secrete fluids with the sperm when it flows into the urethra during the time of ejaculation. This fluid also protects the semen as it enters the acidic vaginal canal. In time, the prostate enlarges and causes the urethra to narrow. This, technically called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is not cancerous at this time. 

Symptoms of BPH

Most of us do not think too much of the prostate gland and the effects it has on us until a later age. Doctors have found the prostate starts to enlarge around the age of 25. As the prostate grows, the donut shaped gland expands and squeezes the urethra encased. This causes symptoms of BPH, which includes:

  • Anticipated urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequently urinating at night
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Overactive bladder

Symptoms that are more complicated include:

  • Bladder stones
  • Urine infections
  • Bladder hernias
  • Kidney disease

If these symptoms go without recognition or treatment, BPH may cause permanent bladder control problems and urine leakage later on in life.

Treating BPH

As a practicing urologist for more than 25 years, Robert Pugach, MD, Medical Director of Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center, understands how frustrating it is to his patients when a conventional bodily function becomes a primary issue in their lives. Based on how severe the symptoms are, how it affects your lifestyle, and if you have medical conditions, there are therapies for symptomatic BPH. Medications can help. Since the prostate continues to grow, the effects of medication are usually temporary and long-term use could be impractical due to side effects such as eye problems, dizziness, stuffy nose, feeling tired or having low blood pressure. Surgery is an option, though most patients should not opt for it. For surgery may result in erectile dysfunction (ED), incontinence, formation of scar tissue, risks of attaining hospital infections and anesthesia risks.

According to Dr. Pugach, minimally invasive procedures (MITs) are done in the comfort of his office and any risks or side effects are extremely rare. While sitting watching TV on their large flat screen television mounted on the ceiling, he can perform Cooled Microwave Thermotherapy, a common MIT. This procedure only takes 30 minutes and gently heats the prostate causing it to shrink. The eminence of MITs allows the patient to proceed with daily activities immediately and the results are prominent than medication or surgery.

Dr. Robert Pugach, Medical Director of Pacific Coast Urology Center is an expert in microwave procedures and has done more of these than any other doctor in the western United States. He helped to bring this technology to the California and teaches the procedure to physicians throughout the United States and in other countries.