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Prostate Health

Health conditions that are associated with prostate health include an enlarged prostate (BPH), urinary incontinence, and prostate cancer.   

What symptoms are caused by BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia will affect over 50% of men in their 60’s and nearly all men over the age of 80 years old(1).  As the prostate becomes larger, it presses against and narrows the tube that drains urine away from the bladder making it more difficult to urinate.  An enlarged prostate may lead to unwanted symptoms like frequent urination, inability to empty the bladder completely, a weak urine stream or having difficulty starting urination(2).  Although this is part of the natural progression of aging, there are medications that can be used to help improve urine flow and decrease the size of the prostate, leading to a better quality of life. 

Men's room door with occupied sign

What treatments are available for urinary problems?

Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary leakage of urine.  People may experience different symptoms including having a sudden need to urinate, leakage during physical activity, needing to urinate many times during the day, waking up more than once in the middle of the night, or being unable to reach the toilet in time(2).  Urinary incontinence is more common in women, but can also affect men.  In men, urinary incontinence increases with age and is often due to an enlarged prostate.  There are several prescription medications used to improve urinary incontinence, however, they have many unwanted side effects and should be used with caution, especially in the older population. 

What if it is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the leading cancer in men(1).  Generally, symptoms associated with prostate cancer are similar to those of BPH, so diagnosing it can be difficult.  If detected early, prostate cancer is very curable, therefore, regular checkups and screenings are important.  There are some risk factors that may increase your chances of developing prostate cancer including age (50 and older, 40 and older if you have a family history or are African American), family history, race (African Amercians have highest rate), and diet low in fiber and high in fat(1).

Low Testosterone

What is Testosterone?

Couple resting after bike rideTestosterone is a natural hormone in the body that is responsible for a man’s muscle and bone strength, sex drive, and red blood cell and sperm production(3).  Starting at the age of 30, testosterone levels begin to drop.  Certain medical conditions like diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, obesity, hormone disorders, or testicular cancer may also lead to low testosterone, or low T.  Common symptoms of low testosterone levels include fatigue, weakness, depression, and low sex drive(4).

What treatments work for Low T?

A blood test is used to determine if testosterone levels are below normal.  If levels are too low, treatment will be started to avoid having the bones weaken and increase the risk for bone breaks.  Testosterone can be replaced in your body by using injections, patches, or gels(2).  As testosterone levels begin to increase, men will notice improvements in their symptoms such as having more energy, improved depression, and an increased sex drive. After therapy is started, you will be closely monitored to make sure testosterone levels don’t increase too much and lead to other problems.Group exercising on yoga balls

Pharmacy Compounding for Low Testosterone

The products available by prescription have standard strengths of testosterone in them.  Sometimes these amounts are too much or not enough for men and a dose in between may be better.  Our pharmacy can compound testosterone creams and gels with the specific amount of testosterone that will work best for you.  Talk to one of our pharmacists or your health care provider about using a compound to focus on your needs.

 

Depression

Depression is the 7th leading cause of death in men, therefore, it is an important issue that should be discussed with your health care provider(5).   Unfortunately, depression in men often goes undiagnosed as many men ignore their symptoms or do not want to talk about them and do not get professional help.  Depression can be caused by stress, an imbalance of hormones or chemicals in your brain, or a family history.

Sad man sitting holding headWhat are the signs of Depression?

Signs and symptoms of depression are different for everyone but in men often include feeling anxious, irritable, or aggressive; having a decreased interest in work, family, hobbies, or sex; having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much; having trouble concentrating; changes in eating habits; or suicidal thoughts(6). When these symptoms start to interfere with your daily life, you should speak to someone for help.

What are the treatments for Depression?

Treatment for depression may include using medications, going to therapy, or a combination of both.  Medications will help balance out the chemicals in your brain and usually take 6-8 weeks to start working.  Some of the medications used have side effects such as headache, drowsiness, upset stomach, weight gain, and sexual problems.  However, these side effects usually decrease over time or different medications can bDoctor talking to patiente used.

References:

  1. www.prostatehealthguide.com accessed May 6, 2014
  2. Updates in Therapeutics: The Pharmacotherapy Preparatory Review and Recertification Course.  American College of Clinical Pharmacy. 2011, 49-53, 80-82.
  3. http://www.webmd.com/men/features/low-testosterone accessed 05/07/14
  4. http://www.healthline.com/health/side-effects-of-low-testosterone accessed 05/07/14
  5. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/index.shtml accessed 05/07/14
  6. http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-men accessed 05/07/14