Pee Symptoms Men Really Shouldn't Ignore

How often we pee, how much we pee, and the color of our urine can tell us a lot about what's going on inside our body. While we normally don't give much thought to going number one throughout the day, urination serves an important purpose. Not only does it help regulate our water levels, but it also rids the body of waste, including potentially harmful ingredients found in the foods we eat, according to (via National Library of Medicine). Urine can also provide doctors with answers as to whether a person may have certain health conditions including liver issues.

Some experts believe that abnormal urinary symptoms can also be indicative of more advanced stages of prostate cancer (per Mayo Clinic). Prostate cancer is characterized by the growth of cancerous cells within the prostate — the small reproductive organ that aids in the production of ejaculate and moving semen through the urethra during ejaculation (per Cleveland Clinic). The American Cancer Society reports that approximately 299,010 new prostate cancer cases are expected to develop in 2024. Next to lung cancer, it is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death for men in the U.S.

Symptoms or no symptoms, early detection is key

Most of the time, prostate cancer comes on gradually so symptoms aren't always readily detectable, explains the Mayo Clinic. In later stages of prostate cancer, however, a person may potentially experience difficulty peeing, a reduction in the strength of their urine stream, bone pain, weight loss, or erectile dysfunction. In rare cases, the presence of blood in one's semen — medically referred to as hematospermia — may also indicate more advanced stages of prostate cancer. Mind you, Harvard Health Publishing notes that in over 86% of men who experience hematospermia, prostate cancer is not the cause.

While such urinary symptoms shouldn't be ignored, researchers from a 2022 scientific article published in BMC Medicine feel that the focus placed on pee symptoms as the main indicator of prostate cancer is potentially harmful to the general public. Rather, the researchers noted that prostate cancer is a largely asymptomatic disease and highlighted studies that oppositely found there to be no evidence of a link between prostate cancer and urinary abnormalities. One study even found the likelihood for prostate cancer to potentially be higher in the absence of urinary symptoms. The researchers emphasized that they are not dissuading individuals experiencing urinary symptoms from speaking to their doctor about prostate cancer concerns. However, they feel that the public focus should instead be placed on the importance of routine screenings rather than waiting until symptoms are present.

How to lower your risk of prostate cancer

While some risk factors for prostate cancer may be out of our control, such as age or genetics, the Mayo Clinic states that there are protective measures we can take to help reduce the chances of developing the disease. This includes maintaining a healthy diet rather than relying on supplements for our vitamin and mineral needs. More specifically, choose foods that are rich in nutrients, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies.

Additionally, prioritize physical activity. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week along with two days focused on muscle strengthening. You want to be moving your body more days of the week than not, so consider spending a little time on exercise each day over the course of the week rather than trying to hit that 150 minutes in one single day. 

Finally, do not hesitate to discuss any concerns with your physician. In some cases, preventative medication may be an option for people who are more prone to prostate cancer.