Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is the enlargement of the prostate gland. About half of men over age 75 will experience symptoms of BPH. BPH is a very minor condition and is not related to prostate cancer. However, symptoms can cause discomfort and be inconvenient.
What Is BPH and How Does It Affect Me?
The prostate gland surrounds the urethra and assists in reproduction. As a man ages, the prostate gets larger and begins to put pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing uncomfortable symptoms. It may be responsible for blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder, and can cause issues in the bladder, urinary tract, or kidneys.
How Do I Know if My Prostate is Enlarged? (Symptoms of BPH)
If your prostate is enlarged, it may not be a sign of cancer, but it is something that you should discuss with your doctor. Many of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate tend to relate to urination. If you are concerned about an enlarged prostate, here are 7 symptoms to look for:
- Difficulty starting urination. The enlarged prostate alters the pressure of your bladder to pass urine. This can have damaging effects on your kidneys.
- Weak urine stream. As the urethra becomes constrained, urine passes at a much slower rate.
- Urgent need to urinate. You may go from not needing to urinate to suddenly needing to go because of how the bladder gets constrained.
- Issues with sleeping. Pressure from the enlarged prostate can interfere with nerve signaling in the middle of the night. This leads to you thinking you have to urinate when you don’t.
- Feeling unable to completely empty your bladder. You may not be able to completely empty your bladder, which can lead to Urinary Tract Infections(UTI) and stone issues.
- Urinary tract infection. A UTI is caused by the urine that sits in your bladder which you can’t fully empty, creating an environment for bacteria to thrive.
- Bladder stones. The leftover urine in your bladder can also crystallize to create bladder stones.
BPH can cause these symptoms, but having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have BPH. There are many reasons why you may have urinary issues. If you are at all concerned that you may have an enlarged prostate, you should consult a urologist. You can find a list of locations near you here.
Treatment for BPH
Keep in mind, there is no permanent cure for BPH, but treatment options are meant to lessen the symptoms caused by BPH to help improve your quality of life. Your doctor may suggest lifestyle modifications, medication, or surgical options depending on the details of the individual case.
Lifestyle changes are typically recommended as the first option, especially in mild cases of BPH. Typical lifestyle changes that doctors recommend to help control BPH include:
- Limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol
- Exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Eating more fiber to help prevent constipation (which may worsen symptoms)
- Diet and exercise to help reach and maintain a healthy weight
- Limiting the consumption of fats and spicy foods
In moderate cases of BPH and cases in which lifestyle changes are not effective, a urologist may elect to prescribe medication. Medication may be used to relax prostate and bladder muscles to relieve symptoms, shrink the prostate and prevent additional growth, or increase flow rate.
Beyond medication, there are minimally invasive procedures as well as surgical options to help with BPH. Minimally invasive procedures are preferred as they typically result in quicker recovery times and a less painful recovery. In some situations, traditional surgical options are necessary based on the severity of the case and desired outcome.
For any treatment path, it is important to consult your urologist, discuss your options, and work together to determine the best treatment plan.
For More Information
You can learn more about men’s health services at New Jersey Urology through the link below. If you would like to find a urologist near you or schedule an appointment, you can use the contact form on our contact us page or view our locations.