September is prostate awareness month which is why I decided to focus on it for a moment.
Most people have some level of awareness of prostate cancer, so I will start there. It has a very high survival rate in part because men get checked regularly after the age of 50 or 55, depending on the comfort of your PCP, other health risks and family history. I must take a moment to remind all of my trans women friends that regular prostate checks apply to you too, because the prostate is not removed during a vaginoplasty. The prostate starts out small, about the size of a walnut, then slowly starts to grow as we get older. It is common for men to complain they are peeing in Morse Code because they have a hard time keeping their urine stream going with any steadiness and it is filled with starts and stops. It is also common for prostated people to complain of getting up several times a night to pee.
Benign Postatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is just that, it is benign, which means it is harmless and is what most men of a certain age (like me) end up having. The prostate as I said earlier, naturally gets larger, hence the hypertrophy. It can cause some blockage of the urethra resulting in you peeing in Morse Code. If this becomes an issue, your doctor can advise a course of action.
Prostate cancer has nearly a 98% survival rate when caught early enough which is why people over 50 years of age with a prostate, including trans women, should get it screened regularly by your doctor. It is normally about the size of a walnut but unlike the lumpy walnut, the prostate should be smooth, and normally grows in size as we get older which then can close in on the urethra, making it more challenging to maintain a urine stream resulting in you peeing in Morse code as you try to empty the bladder. One of the common signs the prostate is getting larger is you will start to pee in Morse code, the flow will stop and start, may be difficult to initiate, and you may not feel fully empty when you are done. Your doctor may wish to do a DRA, a Digital Rectal Exam. Yes, digital means one finger which is then inserted rectally. I can tell you from experience, look at your doctors hands….long and lanky fingers go much better than short pudgy ones! Essentially the doctor is feeling for the size, firmness and smoothness of your prostate with a quick in and out and while some of us are all about the “in and out” this is one encounter everyone wants over in a hurry. Generally harmless unless their finger is short and pudgy. This is one thing where you want length, not girth! This tells us part of the story. PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test can give us a bit more information by way of a small sample of blood.
If enlarged prostate is not your problem but prostatitis is, then look for me next article about prostatitis!
If you are concerned about your prostate and want more information, then take this quick 10 question survey! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/33M9G8X
You can also reach me directly by phone or text at 443-742-0019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. My next Zoom workshop is September 12th at noon and will be ALL about YOU and YOUR PROSTATE!