What is Prostate BPH?
BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia is characterized by enlargement of the prostate. The medical condition arises when the cells of the prostate gland start to multiply. The additional cells lead to the inflammation of the prostate gland. As the gland becomes swollen, it squeezes the urethra and restricts the flow of urine.
While changes in the prostate are a natural part of aging, severe symptoms of BPH can interfere with your daily routine and cause significant discomfort.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is not the same as prostate cancer or triggers the risks of acquiring cancer. Your doctor will conduct tests and scans to make sure you are not suffering from prostate cancer.
To understand BPH more keep in mind that the prostate surrounds some part of your urethra, which is the tube that carries semen and urine out of the penis. If you develop BPH, the prostate gets larger than usual and exerts pressure on the urethra. Naturally, this does not let you empty your bladder properly.
For that reason, you have to wake up throughout the night to go the bathroom and also experience other uncomfortable urinary symptoms.
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What Causes BPH?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a normal condition among aging males. It is very common among men who are older than 70 years of age and often begins to affect men in their 50’s. While the exact cause remains unknown, doctors consider changing male sex hormones to be the biggest cause. Testicle abnormalities or your family history can also raise your risks of getting BPH. However, if you’ve had your testicles removed at a young age, you can’t develop BPH.
BPH symptoms are typically mild at first, but can quickly become serious if left untreated so it’s good to stay aware.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia:
- incomplete bladder emptying
- a sudden urge to urinate
- nocturia (the need to urinate twice or more per night)
- the need to strain when emptying the bladder
- urine incontinence
- a delayed urinary stream
- blood in the urine
- painful urination
If you notice any of these symptoms, get in touch with your doctor to know how you can identify and relieve your symptoms.
Your doctor will ask a number of questions about your symptoms and family medical history before doing a physical exam. This exam typically includes a rectal examination that helps the doctor estimate the shape and size of your prostate.
However, your doctor may also recommend a few other tests to diagnose BPH, which are:
- Prostate-specific antigen test
- Urodynamic test
- Post-void residual
- Intravenous pyelography or urography
- Prostatic biopsy
You should also tell your doctor about any medications that you are taking. Some common medications that negatively affect your urinary system include:
Never, attempt to make any adjustments to your medication or doses on your own. If you’ve taken any OTC medicines to cure your symptoms, inform your doctor.
Although, the treatment of BPH usually begins with self-care, it is crucial to consult your doctor if your symptoms don’t subside. From lifestyle changes to medications and surgery, there are many ways to treat BPH. Your symptoms, age and health help your doctor decide on providing the best medical treatment.
Here are a few lifestyle changes and precautions that are helpful in relieving your symptoms:
- Avoid antihistamine medications and decongestants, which make it difficult for your bladder to empty
- Practice yoga or meditation. Nervousness and stress also increases the frequency of urination
- Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake in the evening
- Keep warm and as being cold can worsen your symptoms
- Practice Kegel exercises to toughen up your pelvic muscles
- Lack of physical activity also aggravates your symptoms. Take up some moderate form of exercise
Patients usually seek BPH treatment only when symptoms are troubling enough to cause interference in their daily life. While an enlarged prostate requires no special treatment, never delay medical treatment if it is accompanied with kidney damage or infections and bleeding.
Patients who require surgery for an enlarged prostate usually remain sexually functional. Only 10-15% of men report of erectile dysfunction or disorders after their surgery.
If you have a long-standing history of BPH, you can suffer from:
- urinary stones and UTI infections
- bleeding in the urinary tract
- a sudden urge to urinate
In a few cases, urinary obstruction from BPH becomes so severe that the patient is unable to pass out any urine. This condition is referred to as bladder outlet obstruction and leads to kidney damage and urinary tract infections. Medication, lifestyle changes and surgery can successfully treat mild or severe symptoms of BPH.