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What is a prostate?

The Prostate is part of the male reproductive system located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut. Its primary function is to produce the fluid that nourishes and transports semen. When the Prostate becomes enlarged, it causes pressure in the bladder and urethra, making urinating difficult. An enlarged prostate is known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BHP.

The symptoms of an enlarged prostate are different for each person, but common symptoms include the following:

  • Difficulty urinating, straining to get any flow going.
  • Frequent need to use the bathroom, including during the night.
  • The bladder does not entirely empty after urinating.
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs.

If not treated, BHP can lead to serious problems, such as kidney or bladder damage. Always discuss your symptoms with your doctor. 

Maintaining a Healthy Prostate 

Prostate disease can often be prevented with the following simple lifestyle changes:

  • Eating more vegetables, less red meat, and drinking lots of water.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Drinking only in moderation.
  • Increasing your vitamin D intake. This could include eating more foods high in vitamin D, such as fish, yogurt, eggs and oranges, taking vitamin D supplements and getting more sunlight.

When should men get prostate exams?

If you have an increased risk of prostate cancer, you should be screened as early as 45. If you have no known risk, the testing conversation should start happening at age 50. Screening for Prostate is a personal decision; therefore, ask your doctor how often they recommend you get screened.

What does prostate screening include?

In addition to a physical exam, during which your doctor will check your prostate gland for any lumps or abnormalities, prostate screening typically includes a Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood and a digital rectal exam (DRE).

Elderplan/HomeFirst strongly encourages our members to get all recommended preventive screenings. Early detection and intervention results in more positive outcomes and a better chance of survival.

At Elderplan, we value the health and wellness of our members. Knowing the basics about specific health conditions may help you be more aware of the risk factors to look for. As an Elderplan member, many exams, like prostate exams, may be covered at no cost to you.

If you are an Elderplan Member and need help, contact Member Services. We can assist in scheduling your exam or recommend other care options through one of our programs.

If you are not a Member, please explore our health plan options to see if there is a plan that may suit your needs.

Additional Resources