Enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a condition that affects more than three-quarters of men over the age of 70. Commonly referred to as BPH, enlarged prostate is often a minor health matter. It is not an indication of prostate cancer. While the condition may not be incredibly concerning, it can cause frustrating symptoms. Here, we discuss what those may be.
What Is BPH and How Does It Affect Me?
The prostate gland is involved in the secretion of semen, the fluid that protects and nourishes sperm. BPH is a benign enlargement due to an overgrowth of tissue. While age is a factor in the risk of BPH, men with certain health conditions seem to have a higher risk. Examples include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Studies indicate that diet is a prominent, modifiable factor for this condition. Men who develop an enlarged prostate may experience problems with urine flow, as well as other lower urinary tract symptoms.
Symptoms of BPH
An enlarged prostate may not be a sign of cancer, but it is a condition that should be treated. Signs that you should schedule a consultation with a urologist include:
- Difficulty starting urination. This symptom may occur because the enlarged prostate changes the pressure on the bladder.
- Weak urine stream. The enlarged prostate can also compress the urethra, the tube through which urine passes. Compression slows the rate of urine flow, thus affecting stream.
- Strong urge to urinate. Men with BPH often go from “zero to 60” in a flash. In one moment, they have no urge to urinate. In the next, they need to go urgently. This happens due to the pressure on the bladder.
- Waking at night. The nerve signaling for the bladder can be disrupted by an enlarged prostate. When a man is sleeping, the nerves may be stimulated to sense a need to urinate when the bladder is not full.
- Inability to completely empty the bladder. When urinating, a man may feel as though some fluid gets left behind. Incomplete emptying increases the risk of urinary tract infections and stones in the bladder.
- Urinary tract infection is caused when bacteria thrive in an un-emptied bladder.
- Bladder stones can form from crystallized leftover urine.
Treating the Enlarged Prostate
Treatment for BPH can vary depending on the severity of symptoms. A comprehensive consultation and examination help a urologist make an accurate BPH diagnosis. With this, they may recommend lifestyle changes to help manage the condition. In more severe cases, medication may be prescribed to complement lifestyle modifications. If you’re exhibiting signs of BPH, now is a good time to see us. Call (423) 778-5910 today to schedule a visit at our Chattanooga urology practice.