November is the time of the Movember movement, which encourages growing a mustache during the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues, like those involving the prostate.
Dr. Matthew Tollefson, a Mayo Clinic urologic oncologist, explains how a growing prostate can cause problems.
Prostate cancer affects more than 250,000 people in the U.S. with about 60% of cases diagnosed in people over 65.
“The prostate gland is a gland that sits around the urethra in men, just below the bladder,” says Dr. Tollefson. “That gland then is responsible for producing semen.”
But cancer isn’t the only problem that can occur in prostates.
“Men basically urinate through the middle of the prostate—kind of like through the hole in a doughnut,” says Dr. Tollefson. “As that doughnut gets larger, that starts to pinch off the urinary stream.”
The result is a tough time emptying the bladder and a need to go more frequently. Infections of the prostate are also common and can have similar symptoms, which is why it’s important to share information with your health care team.
And even though those symptoms can be embarrassing for some patients, Dr. Tollefson says it’s important to see a health care professional.
“There’s no reason to really suffer and go through side effects of progression and that type of thing when, really, these things are generally very well-treated and with very little side effect,” says Dr. Tollefson.