Everything you need to know about prostate enlargement: Benign prostatic hyperplasia
The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system. It is a small gland situated below the bladder and ahead of the rectum. The prostate gland is responsible for making some of the ejaculatory fluid in your semen.
If you are anxious about your prostate health or experiencing any discomfort or pain during urination, then this article may help shed light on some or all of your issues.
What Is Prostate Enlargement?
Prostate enlargement is a common occurrence for the prostate to grow in size as men age. As the prostate becomes larger, it firmly presses against the urethra. As a consequence of this, problems like the delayed release of urine, frequent urination, and pain during urination arise.
The condition mentioned above, commonly known as ‘Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)’, is noticeable in approximately one-third of men older than 50 years and prevalent in up to 90% of the men by the age of 85.
Is an enlarged prostate serious?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is not unusual just as it is not serious, typically. However, a range of treatments and procedures exist to treat prostate enlargement, just in case it gets serious. Contrary to popular belief, an enlarged prostate is not cancerous and does not cause prostate cancer, but severe BPH can result in other complications.
What is the main cause of prostate enlargement?
The exact causes of prostate enlargement are unclear. Popular speculation and large evidence suggest four main reasons for BPH:
- Hormonal imbalance
How do you check if your prostate is enlarged?
An individual may have an enlarged prostate if he is showing one or more of the following BPH signs and symptoms.
Problems while urinating
Despite a frequent urge to urinate, there may be a delay before the urine is released. You might have to put in more effort for the urine to release and sometimes it could even be a false alarm. These are highly ubiquitous BPH symptoms.
Difficulty to control urination
If your prostate is enlarged, you might notice that it is increasingly difficult to control your urine for longer periods. You may be unable to sit for longer periods without having to urinate soon.
One of the signs of BPH is ‘nocturia.’ It refers to the condition where you are unable to sleep for continuously long hours without having to wake up and urinate. Generally, you might have to urinate every 6 to 8 hours.
Pain during urination and in the bladder
As the enlarged prostate presses against the urethra, the tube that releases the urine and squeezes it, you may experience mild or severe pain in the bladder. The intensity of the pain depends on the severity of your BPH condition.
The feeling of urine retention
Even after you have just urinated, you may feel that it was incomplete and your bladder has not been emptied yet.
UTI and blood in the urine
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and the presence of blood in the urine are among the prostatic hyperplasia symptoms but are rarely seen. These symptoms are more common in the extreme cases of BPH.
What is the best treatment for an enlarged prostate?
The treatments for BPH can range from simple dietary changes to minimally invasive surgery, and in some cases, even the removal of the prostate gland.
If the BPH symptoms that you are observing do not seem to bother you much, then it is likely not very severe and can be cured over time. Simple lifestyle and dietary changes can do wonders, especially if you are young, and your condition is not severe.
Consult a doctor and have regular checkups to monitor your health and condition.
A common practice while treating BPH with allopathic medication is the usage of ‘alpha-blockers.’ Alpha-blockers help relax the prostate and bladder that make urination easier and relieve you of some or all of the symptoms.
Since the exact type of medication also depends on other factors such as your overall health and age, kindly consult a doctor before proceeding further.
There are several types of surgical operations to treat BPH symptoms. Below is a list:
- Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
- Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP)
- Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT)
- Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA)
- Prostatic Urethral Lift (PUL)
- Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is among the preferred surgical methods as it is minimally invasive (apart from TUMT and PUL) and has relatively lower side effects. But it may not be necessarily the best treatment for you.
Kindly consult a doctor to help you figure out the most suitable surgical method to treat your BPH condition.
How to prevent prostate enlargement?
You can incorporate a multitude of practices in your routine to prevent prostate enlargement. Although these methods are not 100% effective, they certainly reduce the likelihood of developing BPH.
Cutting down alcohol consumption is essential to treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Alcohol increases the frequency of urination. Additionally, it is important to stay active by exercising and also to follow a healthy diet.
Be sure to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, such as:
- Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and carrots
- Almonds and walnuts
Zinc supplements are useful in preventing BPH. You can also lean towards dietary sources of zinc like:
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whole grains
Drinking green tea is also a good practice as it helps to limit excess urination and is rich in antioxidants.
Are you susceptible to BPH?
Any male above 40 or 50 years of age is naturally susceptible to prostate enlargement than those younger to them.
You are likely to be at greater risk if you have the following:
Turning a blind eye to benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms can aggravate the condition and call the need for surgical intervention. It is strongly advised that you don’t jump to conclusions through self-diagnosis. If you experience any symptoms, consult a doctor to acquire more clarity.
There is no standardised treatment procedure for all patients. The treatment varies from one person to another and depends on various factors like allergies, overall health, fitness, height and weight. Consulting with an expert will help you make appropriate decisions for what is best suitable for you.