By Dr. Ebi Ofrey – CEO GeroCare
As men age, they may experience changes in their prostate gland, which is a small gland located just below the bladder. One of the most common changes is benign prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a non-cancerous condition that affects many older men, and while it is not a serious health threat, it can cause uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about BPH in simple language.
What is Benign Prostate Enlargement?
Benign Prostate Enlargement is a condition that occurs when the prostate gland grows larger than normal. The cause of BPH is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to changes in hormone levels that occur as men age. As the prostate gland enlarges, it can put pressure on the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. This can cause a variety of urinary symptoms, including:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak urine stream
- Dribbling after urination
- Inability to fully empty the bladder
How is Benign Prostate Enlargement Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing urinary symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam, including a digital rectal exam, to check the size and shape of your prostate gland. They may also order additional tests, such as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a urine flow test, to confirm the diagnosis of BPH and rule out other conditions, such as prostate cancer.
How is Benign Prostate Enlargement Treated?
There are a variety of treatment options available for BPH, depending on the severity of your symptoms and the size of your prostate gland. In many cases, lifestyle changes, such as limiting fluid intake before bedtime or avoiding caffeine and alcohol, can help improve symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe medications, such as alpha-blockers or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, to help relax the muscles in the prostate gland and reduce its size.
In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove part of the prostate gland or widen the urethra to improve urine flow. While surgery is generally safe, it does carry some risks, such as bleeding, infection, and erectile dysfunction.
What Can You Do to Manage Benign Prostate Enlargement?
If you have been diagnosed with BPH, there are several steps you can take to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life:
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush toxins out of your body and keep your urinary system functioning properly.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These substances can irritate the bladder and make urinary symptoms worse.
- Practice pelvic floor exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help improve bladder control and reduce urinary symptoms.
- Talk to your doctor: If you are experiencing urinary symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor to rule out other conditions and develop a treatment plan that works for you.
Benign Prostate Enlargement is a common condition that affects many older men, but it does not have to interfere with your quality of life. By talking to your doctor, making lifestyle changes, and following a treatment plan, you can manage your symptoms and enjoy your golden years to the fullest