Men’s Health: When to visit your GP about prostate concerns

This month is ‘Movember’, which is the perfect opportunity to discuss men’s health, and this year I am going to talk about prostate conditions. As an osteopath I’ve been trained to screen for signs of serious conditions, so I am going to share my knowledge with you today. You will learn about the associated risk factors, signs and symptoms, so you know when to visit your GP.

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a walnut sized gland which sits under the bladder and behind the urethra (urine tube). It’s main function is to produce semen, and it naturally grows in size with age (50+). When the prostate grows it sometimes narrows the urethra, which can make it more difficult to pee. Thankfully majority of the time the cause if benign, and not cancerous. However, as prostate cancer presents similarly to benign conditions, it is important to understand the signs and get checked if you have any changes.

Normal versus enlarged prostate

1 in 8

Did you know that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, affecting 1 in 8 men in their lifetime? Luckily it usually progresses very slowly, and if found early the survival rate is excellent. Since starting my own clinical practice I have referred several male clients with urinary changes to their GP for a health check. Majority were benign, but two of them were confirmed to have prostate cancer. Luckily in both cases it was found early enough to be managed effectively, and they are both leading a normal life.

Risk factors

There is increased risk of developing prostate cancer if:

  • You are over 50 (or over 45 if you also present with other risk factors)
  • Black African ethnicity
  • Family history of prostate cancer
  • Inherited faulty genes e.g. BRCA2, and those with Lynch syndrome
  • Overweight/Obese (increased risk of developing to advanced stages of prostate cancer)

Signs and symptoms

As prostate cancer progresses slowly, you may have no symptoms at all in the earliest stages. However if it starts to narrow the space in the urethra the potential symptoms may occur:

  • Increased frequency to pee, particularly in the night
  • Increased urgency to pee
  • Difficulty starting or straining to pee
  • Weaker urinary flow
  • The sensation that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly
  • Pain when urinating or ejaculating
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Frequent pain in lower back/hips/upper thighs

What to do next?

You should ask your GP about PSA testing if:

  • You are over 50 (or over 45 if increased risk), even if asymptomatic
  • You have developed any new signs and symptoms (even if you have had the test done before).

The PSA test is a simple blood test to test for levels of prostate-specific antigen and is a good starting point to rule out prostate conditions in general. If the results are elevated it can indicate the presence of prostate cancer, but it can also be elevated in non-cancerous conditions such as prostatitis. If you have elevated PSA, your doctor will explain the next steps.


Although prostate cancer is common in men, it is normally managed well if found early. This is why it is important for you to be aware of the risk factors, signs and symptoms of prostate conditions, and share this information with your loved ones.

PS Have you checked out my last post about Tendinopathies?

Published 21/11/2023