Prostate danger as men pass 40

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2003, 12:00am

Medical professionals advise men over the age of 40 to pay extra attention to prostate diseases as they are inevitable due to changes in male hormones.

The disorders cause enlargement of the prostate that will then compress the urethra, leading to urination difficulties. Says a specialist in urology, Dr Richard Lo Kwong-yin : 'Men spend the first half of their life making money, and the second half making water'.

According to statistics, more than half of the males aged over 40 in Hong Kong are suffering from hyperplasia of the prostate and the numbers double to more than 80 per cent among those over 80 years of age.

But fearing a loss of face, most men do not share these concerns with their families or friends and even hesitate to consult a doctor when they encounter urination problems at first, usually from mid 50s.

'The symptoms come gradually and silently, not as obvious as a cold or a fever,' says Dr Lo.

The effect of this also varies from person to person as some are tolerant to the changes while find it very difficult to cope up with.

If symptoms like frequent urination, reduction in force of urination or having to get up in the nigh to urinate occur, the person might be suffering from prostate disease.

'If the symptoms are irritating and worsening quality of life, one is advised to seek professional medical advice,' says Dr Lo.

Severe cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia must be treated with either through drugs or a surgery. But drugs used for the treatment can cause side effects such as accelerated hair loss and reduction of sexual appetite.

One natural supplement, namely saw palmetto, is said to help control prostate enlargement. This herb was first used by Native Americans and is now ranked as the third most popular herb consumed in Europe and the United States.