The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder in men. As men age, it is common for the prostate to enlarge due to a non-cancerous condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH causes the prostate to swell and places pressure on the urethra, leading to bothersome urinary symptoms. It is important for men to be aware of the key facts about an enlarged prostate. Understanding BPH can help one recognize symptoms early and seek timely medical help.
Fact 1: BPH is very common among ageing men
BPH is one of the most common medical conditions experienced by men over 50 years of age. As many as 50% of men in their 50s and up to 90% in their 80s have some degree of enlarged prostate. The condition develops slowly over years as the prostate gland continues growing in size.
Fact 2: Symptoms of BPH include frequent and difficult urination
Some common symptoms of an enlarged prostate include frequent urination, especially at night; difficulty starting or stopping the urine flow; urgency to urinate; weak urine stream; and incomplete emptying of the bladder. The bladder has to work harder to empty due to the constriction caused by the enlarged gland. This can lead to urinary retention over time.
Fact 3: BPH is not prostate cancer and does not increase cancer risk
Despite involving the prostate, BPH is not cancerous. The growth of cells is benign or non-cancerous in nature. Enlarged prostate also does not raise the risk of developing prostate cancer. However, cancer cannot be ruled out without proper medical evaluation.
Fact 4: Diagnosis involves medical history, physical exam and tests
To diagnose BPH, the doctor will take a detailed medical history and conduct a physical examination focusing on the abdomen and rectal areas. Tests like a digital rectal exam (DRE), urinalysis, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, uroflowmetry and transrectal ultrasound may also be recommended. These help assess prostate size, rule out other conditions and decide on treatment.
Fact 5: Treatment options range from medication to surgery
Depending on symptom severity and progression, treatment options for enlarged prostate include medications, minimally invasive procedures and surgery. Mild cases may be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. For bothersome symptoms, alpha blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are commonly prescribed. Surgery becomes necessary for severe urinary retention or failure of drug therapy.
Fact 6: Lifestyle modifications provide natural relief
Simple lifestyle tweaks can help alleviate benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms naturally. Maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, moderation of alcohol intake and quitting smoking are recommended. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables also supports prostate health. Staying hydrated and emptying the bladder when needed eases pressure on the prostate.
Fact 7: Left untreated, complications may occur in advanced BPH
While BPH itself is not life-threatening, it can progress to more serious issues if left untreated over the long run. An enlarged prostate may lead to urinary tract infections, bladder stones, urinary retention issues, and in rare cases – kidney damage or failure. Timely management is important to prevent such complications.
Fact 8: Management of BPH
With Timely management, BPH is very treatable in most cases. Advances in minimally invasive therapies have significantly improved treatment outcomes and quality of life for patient
In summary, benign prostatic hyperplasia is a common condition affecting ageing men. Understanding the key facts about an enlarged prostate can help recognize symptoms early. This allows seeking prompt medical advice to determine the right treatment approach based on individual needs and symptom severity. With advances in minimally invasive therapies, BPH is very manageable in most cases. If you are also seeking medical treatment you can contact Dr. Saket Narnoli is a famous urologist in Dhanbad, who specializes in consultant urologist, andrologist, uro-oncologist and laparoscopy Surgery, and more. He is a passionate urologist and surgeon, having done his thesis on Laparoscopic treatment in functional and non-functional adrenal tumors.