Urology Blog

Enlarged Prostate: Do You Know the Signs?

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.

How is Your Prostate Cancer Awareness?

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re getting a head start. It is important that men and those who love them understand the details of this common disease. Here, we discuss a few. May it increase your knowledge about prostate cancer and also prompt you to consider whether now is a good time to speak with your healthcare provider about your risks and how you might protect yourself.

One in Nine Men is Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer
The National Cancer Society updates statistics every year, including the number of men who get diagnosed with prostate cancer and how many men they estimate will get diagnosed in the coming year. This year, the estimate is that just over 191, 000 American men will learn that they have prostate cancer. Nearly all prostate cancer begins in the cells that produce prostatic fluid and results in a mass formed from uncontrollable cell growth.

Prostate Cancer Affects Older Men

The majority of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer (66%) are aged 65 or older. The average age at diagnosis is 66. Statistics also indicate that there are 60% more new cases of prostate cancer in black men each year than in white men. Rarely does this disease occur in men under the age of 40. Age is only one risk factor that needs to be known. Men should also know their family history of prostate cancer and other factors that could put them at risk.

Prostate Cancer Survival

One needn’t do much research to discover that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men, falling only behind skin cancer. This can be a concerning statistic.

However, we must also see that 90% of prostate cancer cases are localized or regional, meaning that cancer cells have not spread to other parts of the body. Men diagnosed with local or regional prostate cancer have a 5-year survival rate of nearly 100%. The 10-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 98%.

What You Can Do about Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer risks need to be known, so talk with family and a healthcare provider to gain a better understanding of what is within your control to manage, such as:

• Avoiding smoking as well as secondhand smoke. This significantly affects prognosis if diagnosed with prostate cancer.
• Know the warning signs of prostate cancer. These include erectile dysfunction, frequent nighttime urination, and blood in the urine.
• Get screened. Not all men need a PSA screening each year to measure prostate-specific antigen, but those with risk factors may. Talk with your doctor about when you should begin this test.

We can help you understand more about the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Call (423) 778-5910 to schedule an appointment with us.

Can BPH Affect Your Sex Life?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the condition we refer to as BPH. It is the condition in which a man’s prostate has become enlarged. Studies have indicated that approximately half of all men develop BPH between the ages of 51 and 60. In the over-80 age group, nearly 90 percent of men experience the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Most men recognize bladder issues as a sign of BPH; a need to urinate frequently and being met with weak urine flow. BPH can also cause a full bladder sensation immediately after urinating. The pressure on the bladder may make it difficult to start urinating and to fully empty the bladder, leading to dribbling. These are relatively well-known facts about BPH. What might not be as obvious is the connection between an enlarged prostate and sexual issues. Some issues relate to BPH directly and some to the type of treatment a man is prescribed to manage his prostate health.

  1. Diminished sexual satisfaction may occur when a man is woken several times a night by his need to urinate. Sleep issues often coincide with anxiety and, together, the two may result in a general decline in sexual satisfaction.
  2. Libido may decrease as a side effect of certain medications prescribed to treat an enlarged prostate. This most commonly occurs with 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. If libido decreases after beginning a course of oral medication for BPH, a man should speak with his doctor about alternative treatment modalities such as straight alpha-blockers or laser ablation.
  3. Erectile dysfunction affects up to 10 percent of men who undergo TURP for the treatment of BPH. TURP, or Transurethral Resection of the Prostate, is a minimally invasive procedure that also carries a risk of incontinence and impotence. As an alternative to this technique, many men consider laser ablation to reduce the symptoms of BPH.
  4. TURP may also cause retrograde ejaculation, a condition in which semen enters the bladder rather than exiting the body from the penis. When a man has retrograde ejaculation, conception becomes a challenge because, although he will reach climax and have an orgasm, it will be what we call “dry.”

At UT Urology, we are continually researching treatments that help men maintain sexual and prostate health throughout their lifetime. To learn more about current treatment options for BPH, call our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910.

Medical Options for Enlarged Prostate

Enlarged Prostate Chattanooga TNThe prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system. It is here that fluid is produced and supplied to nourish the sperm in the ejaculate. This small organ that sits just above the rectum and behind the bladder is normally about the size of a walnut. When a man reaches his mid-30s, hormonal changes combine with diet, lifestyle habits, and family genetics to affect the prostate. It is at this time that the organ may begin to enlarge.

Prostate enlargement is an event that may occur over several years, decades even. By the time a man reaches his 50s, he may have diagnosable benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. This condition describes an enlarged prostate gland that may cause symptoms. The urethra, the tube that travels from the bladder to the penis, travels through the prostate. If the gland enlarges to a point of pressing on the urethra, urine flow may change.

Symptoms related to an enlarged prostate may be treated in several ways. There is no “right” treatment for every man, which is why comprehensive medical care is a must. At UT Urology, men in the Chattanooga area receive a high level of personalized care that looks beyond prostate size to consider all factors related to this condition and how it may be improved.

Determining the Right Level of Care

To fully understand benign prostatic hyperplasia, a urologist will likely perform a digital rectal exam to estimate prostate size. Imaging such as ultrasound may also be performed. However, symptoms are as important as size when it comes to determining the right level of care. Some men may develop symptoms with only mild enlargement, and some may have a very large prostate but no symptoms. Doctors will ask questions about urination and may also order lab tests to screen for prostate cancer and evaluate kidney function.

Treating Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

When there are few symptoms affecting a man’s quality of life and no indication of prostate cancer or kidney or bladder problems, no immediate treatment may be prescribed. Periodic prostate exams may be scheduled more frequently and lifestyle modifications may be recommended. In some instances, non-surgical treatment such as medication or other conservative approach such as Rezūm water vapor therapy.

Prostatic enlargement in which symptoms such as urinary frequency (day and night) and urgency, weak flow, or irregular flow are the norm may require surgical intervention. Even here, several treatment options exist. As often as possible, the most conservative and minimally-invasive technique is selected.

Our priority is to help each of our patients understand their treatment options for BPH. For more information, call our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910.

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