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Enlarged Prostate

Prostate gland enlargement is common in men as they grow older. For men above 50, the most common prostate problem is prostate enlargement. 50% of men by age 60 suffer from this problem and over 90% of men suffer from this problem when they are 80 plus. Enlarged prostate is also known as prostatic hypertrophy, benign prostatic Hyperplasia or prostate gland enlargement.

Enlarged prostate is a benign enlargement and is non- cancerous. This condition often induces urinary problems. If left untreated, the problem can block the flow of urine out of the bladder and cause urinary infection, kidney and bladder problems. The prostate gland is located beneath the bladder; this tube passes through the center of the prostate and transports urine from and out of the penis. Therefore when the prostate is enlarged, it obstructs the flow of urine. With time, the bladder muscles thicken severely and become over sensitive thus forcing the person to urinate frequently as the bladder can't hold even small amount of urine.

Symptoms of prostate gland enlargement

  • Increased frequency of urination at night.
  • Unable to empty the bladder completely
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Weak urine stream
  • Strain to urinate
  • Bladder stone
  • Difficult to start, stop and restart urination.

Diagnosis includes:

Physical examination and understanding the patient's medical history.
Rectal examination to identify if the prostate is enlarged.
Urine tests.
Urine flow test.
PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test in blood.
Trans rectal ultrasound to measure prostate.
Neurological examination to identify reasons other than prostate enlargement for urinary incontinence etc.
Post void residual volume test, to identify if the patient can empty the bladder completely.
Prostate biopsy.
CT urogram to identify blocks in urinary bladder.
Cystoscopy to check bladder and urethra.

Thyroid

Thyroid is a gland in the neck overlying the windpipe that regulates the speed of metabolic processes by producing a hormone with the eponymous name thyroxin. Thyroid is an endocrine gland. The thyroid gland which resembles a butterfly, sits astride the trachea. Its secretion - thyroxin, a hormone that regulates the metabolic activity of the body. Too much thyroxin races the metabolism resulting in weight loss, temperature elevation, nervousness and irritability. On the other hand, too little thyroxin slows down the metabolism rate resulting in deep voice, weight gain and water retention. This can result in retardation in physical growth and mental development in children. Both conditions equally affect hair and skin growth, bowel function and menstrual flow.

The thyroid gland is often enlarged whether it is secreting too much hormone, too little or even when it is functioning normally. The thyroid is controlled by the pituitary gland, which secretes Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in response to the amount of thyroxin in the blood. TSH increases the amount of thyroxin secreted by the thyroid and also causes the thyroid gland to grow.




Hyperthyroid Goiter : If the amount of TSH is high, the thyroid will both enlarge and secrete too much thyroxin. The result is termed as Hyperthyroidism with a goiter. Graves' disease is the most common form of this disorder.



Euthyroid goiter : If dietary iodine is insufficient, too little thyroxin will be secreted and the pituitary will sense the deficiency and produce more TSH. The thyroid gland will enlarge enough to make sufficient thyroxin.

Hypothyroid goiter: If dietary iodine is severely low, even an enlarged gland will not be able to make enough thyroxin. The gland may keep growing under the influence of TSH, but it may never make enough thyroxin.

An endocrinologist who specializes in the endocrine system can also be consulted for thyroid problems and diseases. Specialists who deal with thyroid problem are called thyroidologists. Thryoidologist and endocrinologist are specially trained doctors who diagnose and treat diseases affecting the thyroid gland. A thyroid specialist continues specialized education focused on thyroid issues after obtaining a Masters degree in medicine. He is qualified and trained to treat conditions that are complex and involve many systems within the body that may be affected due to thyroid imbalance.


A primary care doctor too often misses the diagnosis of a thyroid disease. Sometimes primary care doctors refer patients to a thyroid specialist when there is problem in the endocrine/ hormone systems. Thyroid specialists treat patients with too much or too little thyroid hormone. The thyroid specialist helps the patients to reach a hormone balance by replacing or blocking thyroid hormone. Thyroid specialists also receive special training to manage patients with thyroid growths or thyroid cancer and enlarged thyroid glands. There are times when the services of a thryoidologist or an endocrinologist become absolutely necessary.


  • A thyroid specialist has to be consulted when a patient is suffering from the hyperthyroid autoimmune - Graves' disease. This is a condition which can be treated only by a thyroid specialist and not by a regular GP. Graves's disease and hyperthyroid management involves a number of therapies, anti thyroid drug use, radioactive iodine treatments and even surgery if necessary.
  • Evaluation and treatment for thyroid nodule can be rendered only by thyroid specialists. Thyroid nodule is evaluated by ultrasound and fine needle biopsy process. This is done to rule out the possibility of thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroid cancer is rare and less than 15000 new cases are diagnosed every year. An expert thyroid specialist is highly recommended to diagnose, evaluate, treat and help in long term follow up and support management of thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroid surgery is performed when the gland becomes so large that is cosmetically disfiguring. This is normally done if a thyroid has markedly enlarged for years. Thyroid surgery should be performed by an experienced thyroid surgeon. Only an experienced thyroid surgeon can handle the complications that can arise due to thyroid surgery.
  • A thyroid specialist can assess hypothyroidism levels. This is done by evaluation of TSH level. S/He considers other options such as symptoms, family history and clinical factors to make a thyroid diagnosis.
  • After a person has been diagnosed for hypothyroidism, a thyroid specialist treats and manages the patient for other signs and symptoms as well. Such symptoms are weight gain, depression, brain fog, hair loss, shortness of breath, intolerance to heat and cold, muscle aches and joint pains, constipation, carpal tunnel, high cholesterol, infertility, Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.


Hepatomegaly

Hepatomegaly refers to abnormal swelling of the liver. On palpation of the right side of the abdomen, if the liver extends below the ribs, it indicates an enlarged liver. Hepatitis indicates general inflammation of the liver. If both the liver and spleen are enlarged, the condition is called Hepatosplenomegaly.


Possible causes of Hepatomegaly include:



Most people suffering Hepatomegaly do not have any noticeable symptoms. Some experience fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and pain on the right side of the abdomen. Diagnostic tests such as abdominal ultrasound, Liver Function Test and abdomen MRI are suggested.


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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: November 22, 2019