People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing prostate complications because several conditions caused due to chronic diabetes, mainly unmanaged blood glucose and diabetes induced nerve damage could adversely affect prostate gland and urinary tract. Some research studies also indicate that conditions like frequent urination, neural damage to the bladder and certain imbalances of estrogen and testosterone hormones directly linked to diabetes are mainly responsible for causing enlargement of the prostate gland.
Link between diabetes and prostate health
Enlargement of the prostate gland commonly occurs as men age, says Dr Rahul Jalgaonkar, consultant, Endocrinology, SRV Hospitals, Mumbai. Diabetes can affect nerves and blood vessels, potentially leading to bladder and urinary problems. Prostate enlargement can cause urinary symptoms by compressing the urethra, making it harder to urinate, he adds.
He says, diabetes can also lead to alterations in hormone levels, including insulin, insulin-like growth factors, and sex hormones like testosterone. Changes in these hormones can influence prostate health and function. High levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors in the bloodstream may promote cell growth, which could potentially affect the prostate gland.
This could contribute to conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which involves the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. The prostate is a gland that surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis). This gland often gets bigger as a person gets older.
“Inflammation in the prostate can contribute to conditions like prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and may potentially play a role in the development or progression of prostate cancer”, says Dr Jalgaonkar.
Common risk factors
According to Dr Sonali Kagne, deputy consultant, department of endocrinology, Sir HN reliance foundation hospital, Mumbai, both diabetes and prostate issues share common risk factors, such as obesity. Obesity can promote inflammation and hormonal changes that may contribute to prostate problems. She also adds, diabetes and benign prostatic hyperplasia could lead to other conditions affecting the urinary tract commonly listed as Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) due to decreased bladder sensation, decreased detrusor (bladder muscle) contractility, and incomplete bladder emptying.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia and associated lower urinary tract symptoms are highly prevalent in older men, however, studies have shown that BPH symptoms are worse in men with diabetes than in those without diabetes.
Common prostate conditions linked with diabetes
Dr Ravi Shankar Ganji, consultant – urologist and kidney transplant surgeon, Manipal Hospital, Vijayawada, says, there are several common prostate conditions that people with diabetes should be particularly aware of and may have a higher risk of developing. These include Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland), prostate cancer, urinary symptoms like urinary incontinence, frequent urination, and difficulty emptying the bladder.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) also is another common concern for men with diabetes. While it’s not a direct prostate condition, ED can be associated with diabetes-related nerve and vascular damage, and it may impact a man’s overall urological and sexual health, says Dr Jalgaonkar.
Key symptoms of prostate issues in people with diabetes
Persons with Diabetes should be aware and mindful of the fact that any symptoms like increased frequency of urination combined with inability to empty bladder could be due to prostate enlargement and seek proper medical guidance, says Dr Shridhar Deshmukh, MD (General Medicine), Consultant Physician & Intensivist, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.
Managing prostate health in people with diabetes
Dr Ganji says, people with diabetes can reduce the risk of developing BPH through healthy lifestyle changes such losing weight, quitting smoking, limiting coffee and alcohol intake, managing blood pressure, adopting a healthy diet, and moderate exercise.
- Chronic diabetes could lead to multiple issues pertaining to the urinary bladder and cause neural damage and hormonal imbalances that could affect the prostate gland.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or enlarged prostate gland is one such condition. Though generally considered to be benign as the name suggests, experts point out that it should not be ignored as BPH could lead to blockage of urinary tract which could affect your kidney health.