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There is a variety of different reproductive diseases and disorders that can affect men.

This lesson describe the basics of four of them: BPH, prostate cancer, hypogonadism, and cryptorchidism.

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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, and the growth of breasts: these are some of the worst fears men face when it comes to their reproductive systems. This lesson is going to discuss just a fraction of the diseases and disorders that affect a man’s reproductive system.Let’s begin with one of the most well-known disorders. It’s called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, which is a condition where the prostate increases in size, but not as a result of cancer. The term uses the word ‘prostate,’ which is a gland that women don’t have, one that produces fluid that men ejaculate when they orgasm. The term also uses the word ‘hyperplasia.

‘ This is a word that means there is an increase in the number of cells that make up the prostate. BPH uses the word ‘benign’ as well, which means the prostate increases in size, but not as a result of cancer. Just because it’s not cancerous, however, doesn’t mean that BPH doesn’t cause any problems.

In fact, it causes plenty of problems.BPH can cause:

  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Straining while urinating
  • Increased frequency of urination

Why is this the case? Well, it’s because the urethra, which is a tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body, runs through the prostate. If the prostate increases in size, then it, like a fist around a water hose, clamps down around the urethra. What happens when you clamp around a water hose? The water has a hard time getting through! This is what happens in BPH, except with urine, not water, of course.

Prostate Cancer

While BPH is non-cancerous, you better believe that prostate cancer is. I mean, it’s in the name! Cancer is the uncontrolled division and spread of abnormal cells throughout the body, in the prostate in this case. These were once normal cells that have become criminals who are not obeying your body’s orders to stop multiplying and running around to places they don’t belong.

There are plenty of risk factors for prostate cancer, including:

  • Older age (over 65 years old)
  • A family history of prostate cancer
  • Eating a lot of red meat and not enough fruits and vegetables
  • African ancestry

Hypogonadism

The prostate gland is uniquely male. Although the hormone testosterone is not, it is found in men in greater quantities than in women. However, there is a condition where a man does not produce enough testosterone. It’s called male hypogonadism. The word ‘hypogonadism’ comes from hypo-, which means ‘abnormally low,’ and gonad, which in men are the sex glands (or testicles) that produce the hormone testosterone and sperm cells.Usually, the reason for this condition in men is that the testicles simply are not functioning to 100% of capacity.

If the testicles are missing entirely, however, this can also be the cause of male hypogonadism. As a result of this problem, men may have:

  • Underdeveloped genitals
  • Underdevelopment in a characteristic male voice, muscle mass, and body hair
  • Gynecomastia, which is the abnormal development of large breast tissue in men
  • Infertility and/or erectile dysfunction

Just think of the testicles as factories producing hormones and sperm cells. If for any reason the factory output drops, then so does the output of the products: sperm and testosterone. If there isn’t enough sperm, then infertility can arise. If there isn’t enough testosterone, then male characteristics, like a deep voice, may be hindered.

Cryptorchidism

One of the possible causes for male hypogonadism is a condition in and of itself called cryptorchidism. This is a condition where one or both testicles do not drop down into the scrotum, the place where the testicles are normally found.

The word ‘cryptorchidism’ comes from crypto-, which means ‘hidden,’ and -orchis, which means ‘testicle.’The testicles begin their development in a baby’s abdomen during the mother’s pregnancy. Normally, they should drop down from the abdomen and into the scrotum through a structure called the inguinal canal by the end of the pregnancy. If one or both testicles do not, or if they get stuck in the canal itself, then the child is cryptorchid.People who are born cryptorchid are at a higher risk for:

  • Testicular cancer
  • Poor quality sperm
  • Low sperm count

Lesson Summary

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is a condition where the prostate increases in size, but not as a result of cancer. Men with BPH will have trouble urinating because the urethra runs through the prostate.

As the prostate increases in size, the urethra is clamped down on and as a result, urine has difficulty exiting the bladder.The prostate can also be affected by cancer. Actually, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States. Men who are over the age of 65 and eat a lot of red meat are at an increased risk for developing this type of cancer.Like the prostate, the testicles can also be affected by numerous problems. If they are not functioning up to capacity, this may cause male hypogonadism, in which the testicles don’t produce enough of the hormone testosterone. This may lead to underdeveloped genitals and gynecomastia, the development of male breasts.

One potential cause of male hypogonadism is cryptorchidism, a condition where one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum. Cryptorchidism also increases the risk of infertility and testicular cancer in men, especially if left untreated.Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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