A Guide to Understanding Prostate Enlargement
What is Prostate Enlargement?
Prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), occurs when the prostate gland becomes larger than normal. The prostate is a small gland located below the bladder in men and surrounds the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of the body. When the prostate enlarges, it can cause problems with urination such as difficulty starting or maintaining a stream, frequent urination especially at night, and the feeling that your bladder is not completely emptied after urinating.
Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement:
The symptoms of prostate enlargement may vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common signs and symptoms include:
Difficulty starting to urinate
Weak flow of urine
Frequent urination, particularly at night
Urgency to urinate
Slow urinary stream
Straining during urination
Incomplete emptying of the bladder
Causes of Prostate Enlargement:
The exact causes of prostate enlargement are unknown, but several factors have been linked to its development including age, family history, diet, lifestyle habits, and medical conditions like obesity and high blood pressure. As men get older, their risk for developing BPH increases due to changes in hormone levels and other physiological changes within the prostate gland itself. Additionally, having a father or brother who has had BPH puts you at higher risk for developing the condition yourself. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating a diet high in saturated fat can also increase your chances of developing BPH.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Prostate Enlargement:
If you experience any of the above symptoms, see your doctor who will perform a physical examination and order tests such as a digital rectal exam (DRE) and urinalysis to check for abnormalities. Based on the results of these exams and tests, your healthcare provider may recommend various treatment options for prostate enlargement including medication, surgery, and minimally invasive procedures. Medications used to treat BPH include alpha blockers, beta blockers, and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors while surgical options include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and laser therapy. Minimally invasive procedures involve using heat or cold energy to destroy excess prostate tissue without making an incision. Prevention and Risk Factors for Prostate Enlargement:
There are certain steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing prostate enlargement including leading a healthy lifestyle by exerving regularly, managing stress, avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption, and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent the development of BPH. Men over the age of 40 should talk to their doctors about getting screened for prostate cancer, which can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from BPH based on symptom presentation alone. Living with Prostate Enlargement:
Living with prostate enlargement involves taking steps to manage your symptoms and reducing the likelihood of complications arising from the condition. This includes following your healthcare providers instructions regarding medication use, attending regular follow up appointments, practicing good hygiene practices such as wiping from front to back after using the bathroom, and being aware of potential side effects associated with different treatment options. It’s important to remember that although prostate enlargement can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, there are many effective treatment options available to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.