Old doctors, with no idea of germs and their peculiarities, thought common colds settled in the sex organs. Perhaps so.

Winfield Scott Pugh. B.S., M.D.

It is said that at least one-third of all men over 50 years old receive treatment for so-called enlarged prostate gland. There are additional countless numbers of men ill from other forms of prostatic inflammation, who never see a physician.

With many of these sufferers, consider the fact that their plight did not appear suddenly; but has been of long duration. Today, the opportunities for relief in the early stages are excellent and, therefore, no reason exists why such conditions should be neglected. Beside many a fireside, or in some cozy corner, sits one of these middle-aged men who, as a rule, bemoans his "kidney trouble." He has not even bothered, to find out which organ is really offending. There he rocks in his chair, attended by all members of the family, who vie in giving him attention. Some of these valetudinarians seem to enjoy the life of a pensioner, and rather resent the intrusion of the family cat into their domain.

+ Urologist New York City; Commander Medical Corps, U. S. Navy, Retired.

It is not my intention here to sneer at anyone's infirmities, but rather to point out the dangers to which men subject themselves by their indifference. Chronic sufferers from any illness only intensify their condition by becoming, as it were, hot-house plants. They accustom themselves to a state of affairs, it is often perilous to change.

The man who has had some surgical procedure, during atmospheric changes may feel a bit of soreness in the old wound. Our friend with several corns or bunions, the lady with chronic arthritis, etc. will all be visibly annoyed by such changes. Uncle Tom or Aunt Katie, after a while, become known as human barometers; as they can usually tell a little before hand if climatic changes are about to occur. Such is also the case with the prostatic sufferer; particularly him who is afflicted by chronic inflammation incident to some old infection.

The prostate gland, by its very location, is predisposed to intense inflammation. In order to make clear what is to follow, it is wise, I believe, to rehearse a little of the gland's physiology. Its chief functions may be grouped under two heads: first, it has a natural secretion, or fluid, whose purpose is to activitate, or render more vigorous, the spermatozoa, as they pass into the urethra from the seminal vesicles.

In the second place, I am fully convinced, the prostate gland, by its muscular activities, maintains the external organ in a state of erection during sexual activities. To bring about this erection, there is first a rush of blood into the flaccid part, which then become more rigid. But this blood would immediately leave the parts, unless there were something to check it; that is brought about by the contractions of the prostate gland, which then acts as a collar, holding the column of blood. How long such a thing continues will, of course, depend on the individual and his training for this procedure. Like all other things, it may be overdone. This tells us plainly the prostate must also become congested, or flooded with blood during sexual excitement. This is a normal process in every way and, under conditions of health, does no harm. Remember, also, that it occurs only now and then.

* See "Uremic Poisoning-' in April 1941 Sexology.

Cross sectional view of the urethrathe outlet of the bladder  showing how (in the male) its flow is controlled by the prostate gland.

Cross-sectional view of the urethrathe outlet of the bladder--showing how (in the male) its flow is controlled by the prostate gland.

Let us now take a look at the chronically-inflamed prostate, and see what is happening. As a result of disease, you will find all its little tubes and muscular substance continually engorged with blood. This means irritation and swelling. Of course, as the gland surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra, any such a thing interferes with the free flow of urine. When the sufferer is exposed to wet, dampness or other chilling influences, the congestion (excess of blood) in these parts is increased, and with it all the suffering is thereby intensified. I hope this is all very clear, as it is so important that everyone concerned should thoroughly understand.

Exposure means poison to the chronic prostatic.* Let us there fore, see what happened to a few of whom we have records. Mr. A. had gone out without his rubber shoes; as a matter of fact, he had never thought of rain. After a bite and the well-known bottle, accompanied by a friend, our subject visited a show; then he walked home in a slight drizzle. He felt a sudden urge to pass urine; but, just then, his wife appeared upon the scene, berating him rather roundly for his carelessness. (Of course, you know the old line, "Why, a man your age," etc.) Mr. A. was not only wet, but irritated; those of you who have had such an experience have already guessed that the gentleman found relief impossible. After about three hours of trying, during which the excitement became more intense, still there was no urine. A physician was called. The medical man at once attempted to pass his catheter (hollow tube) into the bladder, but failed. My colleague, however, had made one little mistake. His patient had seen him getting the catheters together, and pleaded that he pass the smaller one. In such instances, a large instrument should always be tried first; this is because a spasm may occur, and it means the physician will be greatly delayed in any attempts to properly open the canal.

Several hours after the doctor's failure, a specialist appeared on the scene. His examination revealed that Mr. A. had a very large, chronically inflamed prostate, which condition had been intensified by exposure to cold. "No! no!" said the specialist, "no instruments, but get a red-hot bath ready." I always advise members of the family, should father or brother suffer from a prostate and have a chill, to put him in a tub at once. That is a very old remedy and has been a mighty good friend.

Do not make any mistake, the situation which has just been de scribed is by no means rare; I see it very frequently in both hospital and private practice. Those who have to care for the type of patient above mentioned, usually become pretty good nurses.

Mr. N. suffered from a chronic prostatic condition for years. Strange as it may seem, he was rather a jolly individual, always trying to make light of his infirmities. In this connection, I must remind you that when one organ is involved, others also are going to be subjected to a great strain. When the prostate gland becomes diseased, a great load is placed upon the kidneys; and deaths, when they occur, are often the result of failure of those organs.

One beautiful fall day, Mr. N. felt he must refresh himself by taking a plunge in the river. The water was considerably colder than he expected. Sneezing, a chill and fever soon took place. Mr. N, did not realize that, for almost 24 hours, he had passed no urine. Of course, nobody thought to ask him. In another twenty-four hours, he was in a coma (unconscious). A physician was called; but his patient died in a few hours, from uremia (uric acid poisoning). The prostate gland had swollen rapidly and thus caused the kidneys to shut down, or separate no urine. Death is usually not long delayed after this.

If you are a sufferer from chronic prostatic disease, avoid dampness externally and internally. Should you be unavoidably exposed, do not fail to call your physician. Many tragedies will be thus avoided.