Prostate Health

If you don’t know what your prostate is, where it is or how it affects your health don’t worry you’re not alone.


What and where is my prostate?

Your prostate is the male reproductive gland that produces fluid for semen. It is roughly the size of a walnut and sits at the base of your bladder and in front of your rectum (back passage). 

The older you get, the more common it is for your prostate gland to grow bigger. As the size of the gland increases, it may press on the urethra (the tube that drains the bladder), and sometimes this can cause problems passing urine.

This is often referred to as prostate urinary symptoms and can include:

  • A slow flow of urine,

  • Trouble starting or stopping the flow,

  • Passing urine more often, especially at night,

  • Pain when passing urine,

  • Blood in the urine or semen, and/or

  • Feeling of not emptying your bladder fully.


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia 

BPH – benign prostatic hyperplasia – happens when the prostate gland increases in size. BPH is common in middle-aged and senior men - half of all men between the ages of 50 and 60 will develop it, and by the age of 80 about 90% of men will have BPH.

BPH is not cancerous, but it may cause prostate urinary symptoms. The symptoms of BPH are uncomfortable and may affect your quality of life. As outlined above, symptoms may include frequent urinating, incomplete emptying of the bladder, a weak urine stream, or difficulty starting/stopping to urinate. The treatment for BPH depends on the symptoms causing you trouble and whether there is any obstruction (blockage) caused by the increased size of your prostate gland. 

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact reception for more information or to book you appointment



Prostatitis affects almost 50% of men at least once during their lifetime and is the most common prostate problem for men under the age of 50. Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate – an increase in size due to swelling. This is different to BPH as it may be caused by an infection and can usually be treated by antibiotics. Prostatitis is not cancerous, but its symptoms are like those experienced with BPH.

Symptoms of prostatitis may include:

  • Occasional discomfort in the testicles, urethra, lower abdomen, and back,

  • Discharge from the urethra, especially during the first bowel movement of the day,

  • Blood in urine or semen,

  • Low sperm count,

  • Sexual difficulties,

  • Fever,

  • Aching muscles,

  • Chills,

  • Fatigue, and/or

  • Frequent and/or painful urination.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact reception for more information or to book your appointment


Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer (after skin cancer) diagnosed among Irish men. It happens when the normal cells in the prostate gland change and grow to form a mass of cells called a tumour. In most cases, prostate cancer can be cured or kept under control.

Prostate cancer most often occurs in men in over 50 years. On rare occasions, it can happen to men in their late forties. The risk of developing prostate cancer rises with age.

Early symptoms of prostate cancer are varied and unspecific but may include:

  • Having to urgently rush to the toilet to pass urine.

  • Difficulty in passing urine, slow to begin and reduced stream flow strength.

  • Passing urine more frequently, especially at night, therefore disturbing sleep.

  • Blood in urine or semen (rare).

We can perform a painless prostrate examination [DRE] here at the surgery. Following a discussion between you and your Doctor, we may suggest a prostate blood test if appropriate. Depending on the results of the blood test, it may be necessary to organise a specialist referral to a consultant urologist for further investigation. 

Please contact reception for more information or to book your appointment


Useful Links – More information on enlarged prostate glands – More information on chronic prostatitis – More information on acute prostatitis

Irish Cancer Society – Guide to prostate cancer


Content developed from HSE, Irish Cancer Society and Patient 
and is adapted for Briarhill Family Practice by Briarhill Family Practice.

Paul Cotter

Bad Dog, 16 Seapoint, Barna, Galway