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Disorders of the prostate gland

Logo-NannaThe prostate gland is a walnut sized organ that is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder in men. It completely envelops the first few centimeters of the urethra as it proceeds from the bladder. The prostate is a component of the male reproductive system whose function is to secrete an alkaline and milky fluid, which makes up about 25 per cent of the semen along with spermatozoa and seminal fluid. The alkalinity of the semen helps to neutralize the acidity of the vagina protecting the spermatozoa from destruction. Other constituents of the prostatic secretion include simple sugars, which are alkaline in nature and proteins.

The proteins, which are less than one per cent, are mainly proteolitic enzymes, prostatic acid phosphatase and prostate-specific antigen. There is also some zinc in the prostatic secretion and here it is 500-1000 times the concentration of zinc in the blood. To function properly the prostate gland depends on androgens. Testosterone is the main male hormone, which is responsible for the development of male sex characteristics. It is produced in the testicles mainly and small amounts from the adrenal glands.

Dihydrotestosterone is a metabolite of testosterone, which is synthesized in the prostate gland. Testosterone in circulation is acted upon by 5α-reductase, type 2. This is an enzyme, which is found mainly in the stromal cells of the prostate. Therefore unlike testosterone, which is mainly produced in the testicles, the prostate is the primary site of production of dihydrotestosterone.
Disorders of the prostate gland

Disorders of the prostate gland

There are three major disorders of the prostate and these are; Prostatitis, Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy and Prostate Cancer.

Prostatitis

Simply put prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland. There are four primary types of protatitis: Acute prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic non-bacterial prostatitis and the forth which is a type of leucosytosis. All these correspond to categories 1,2,3, and 4 prostatitis. Except for chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, the other categories are relatively uncommon.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (hypertrophy) BPH

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the enlargement of the prostate gland, which occurs in older men.

The symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia include; frequency (urinating more often than usual), urgency (an urge to urinate that cannot be postponed) and urinating frequently at night. Others are, straining to urinate, weak urine stream and dribbling, hesitancy [delay in starting to urinate] and intermittency [the urine stream starts and stops intermittently]. Dysuria [pain while urinating] may or may not be present with associated lower abdominal pain from the bladder.

If left untreated benign prostatic hyperplasia can become progressive with incomplete emptying of the bladder and accumulation of bacteria, which may lead to urinary tract infection. The salts in the residual urine can also be crystallized to form bladder stones. The enlarged prostate can completely block the passage of urine through the urethra-giving rise to acute and eventually chronic urinary retention. Acute urinary retention is when the individual finds that he is suddenly unable to pass urine through the urethra.

Chronic retention is a progressive condition whereby the residual urine volume continues to increase and causing a distention of the bladder. This condition can become severe enough to cause a back up of urine up the ureters to the kidneys; a condition known as obstructive uropathy, which eventually leads to kidney failure.

Causes of benign prostatic hyperplasia

According to Dr. Batmanghelidj in his book Obesity, Cancer and Depression, increased acidity in the environment of the prostate is what activates the enzyme, prostatic acid phosphatase to begin to promote protein formation and the enlargement of the tissues of the gland. Increased acidity without doubt is caused by dehydration and low acid clearance from the body.

Also, there is sufficient evidence that benign prostatic hyperplasia occurs as a result of increased androgens in the prostate gland. In the midst of high concentrations of androgens in the prostate, there is accelerated proliferation of the cells of the prostate, which leads to the enlargement of the gland. Dihydrotestosterone, a metabolite of testosterone, as we have seen is produced in the stromal cells of the prostate and readily causes a proliferation of these cells. It can diffuse into the surrounding epithelial cells and cause a proliferation of the epithelial cells.



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