It's estimated that up to 75% of all men have some form of prostate stones.
Advertisements for enlarged prostate treatment are everywhere but in spite of their frequent occurrence, few people have ever even heard of prostate stones or prostatic calculi. Unlike an enlarged prostate which occurs more often as men age, prostate stones can start to form at any time in a man's life.
When you're in your 20's and 30's, one of the last things you think about is prostate trouble. If it crosses your mind at all, you think of it as an "old guy's" disease. Historically, prostate problems start around age 50. Men exhibiting prostate symptoms before that were rare. However, some sources have noticed an increased frequency of prostate problems in younger men, men even in their 30's. And, if the right conditions exist, prostatic calculi can begin to form even earlier. Worse yet, unlike kidney or gall stones, prostate stones are very difficult to remove.
There are two generally recognized causes of prostatic stones:
1. If you already have an enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), it can affect the proper drainage of your prostate. The remaining proteins congeal and become inspissated or dried out. Later, the body may calcify the protein as a defense mechanism, similar to pearl formation in an oyster. These types of stones are more common in older men.
2. Analysis of some stone formations have found urinary salts, indicating urinary reflux. Similar to a sink backing-up and over flowing, not urinating when you feel the urge could allow urine to back-up into the prostate. This type of stone formation can happen in any man, regardless of age.
Staying hydrated is important but be careful not to cause yourself harm. It can sound childish and even "un-manly" but try to prevent any situation where you could get stuck holding your urine for an extended time. Plan ahead, visit the rest room before a meeting, a flight or even when you might be caught in traffic. Don't feel embarrassed to excuse yourself, everyone has been in a similar situation. We've all heard it before,"When you gotta go, you gotta go."
When holding your urine, you contract a small muscle called the external urethral sphincter. When you decide to pee, you relax that muscle and urine flows. The external urethral sphincter is a voluntary muscle similar to your bicep; you have conscious control over it. The external urethral sphincter is "down stream" of the prostate so holding your urine too long can allow it to back-up into the prostate. That's called urinary reflux.
The prostate is a reproductive organ not a part of the urinary system so It's not designed to process urine. Because urine is a waste product, it can contain toxins and even bacteria. To protect other tissues, the body may move calcium into areas of the prostate to surround, contain and quarantine the toxins creating calculi or stones.
Once formed prostatic calculi tend to stay. They can contribute to prostatic infections or prostatitis and enlargement of the prostate. Men in their 30's with prostate stones can have symptoms similar to men in their 50's such as frequent urination, waking up at night to urinate, diminished urinary flow, slight burning while urinating and even sexual dysfunction.
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. You may also consider taking a prostate supplement. Just be aware that for most prostate supplements, you have to take them 2-3 times per day. However, if you're in your 30's or 40's and your symptoms are mild, taking even half the recommended dose may give you symptomatic relief and prevent more severe problems from happening in the future.