The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system. The main function of the prostate is to make a fluid that goes into semen. Prostate fluid is essential for a man’s fertility. The gland surrounds the urethra at the neck of the bladder. The bladder neck is the area where the urethra joins the bladder. The bladder and urethra are parts of the lower urinary tract. The prostate has two or more lobes, or sections, enclosed by an outer layer of tissue, and it is in front of the rectum, just below the bladder. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In men, the urethra also carries semen out through the penis. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — also called prostate gland enlargement — is a common condition as men get older. An enlarged prostate gland can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder. It can also cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.
There are several effective treatments for prostate gland enlargement, including medications, minimally invasive therapies and surgery. To choose the best option, you and your doctor will consider your symptoms, the size of your prostate, other health conditions you might have and your preferences.
Symptoms of BPH
As they age, some men may notice that they have trouble peeing. You might find it hard to start going, or perhaps the stream starts and stops several times. These are just two possible signs of benign prostatic hyperplasia, called BPH, which is an enlarged prostate. This gland, which grows during early puberty and then again around age 25, becomes enlarged in many men. It can pinch your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder through your penis.
The severity of symptoms in people who have prostate gland enlargement varies, but symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time. Conditions that can lead to symptoms similar to those caused by enlarged prostate include.
• Frequent or urgent need to urinate
• Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
• Difficulty starting urination
• Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
• Dribbling at the end of urination
• Inability to completely empty the bladder
• nocturia—frequent urination during periods of sleep
• urinary incontinence—the accidental loss of urine
• pain after ejaculation or during urination
• urine that has an unusual color or smel• Urinary tract infection
• Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis)
• Narrowing of the urethra (urethral stricture)
• Scarring in the bladder neck as a result of previous surgery
• Bladder or kidney stones
• Problems with nerves that control the bladder
• Cancer of the prostate or bladder
Causes of BPH
The prostate gland is located beneath your bladder. The tube that transports urine from the bladder out of your penis (urethra) passes through the center of the prostate. When the prostate enlarges, it begins to block urine flow. Most men have continued prostate growth throughout life. In many men, this continued growth enlarges the prostate enough to cause urinary symptoms or to significantly block urine flow. It isn’t entirely clear what causes the prostate to enlarge. However, it might be due to changes in the balance of sex hormones as men grow older.
Diagnosis to confirm benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. After a physical examination and tests by general physician are done, you are referred to a urologist if any abnormality is detected by your GP to confirm enlarged prostate or any other conditions.
The physical exam includes a rectal examination that allows the doctor to estimate the size and shape of your prostate. Other tests can include:
• Urinalysis: Your urine is checked for blood and bacteria.
• Prostatic biopsy: A small amount of prostate tissue is removed and examined for abnormalities.
• Urodynamic test: Your bladder is filled with liquid via a catheter to measure the pressure of your bladder during urination.
• Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: This blood test checks for cancer of the prostate.
• Post-void residual: This tests the amount of urine left in your bladder after urination.
• Cystoscopy: This is the examination of your urethra and bladder with a tiny lighted scope that is inserted into your urethra
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when you have an enlarged prostate and you’re trying to decide what to do next.
People react in their own way to the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common condition for men as they age.
• Watchful waiting and lifestyle changes
• Medications or supplements
Natural treatment can include specific actions or lifestyle changes that you can make to help relieve your symptoms of BPH. These include:
• urinating as soon as you feel the urge
• going to the bathroom to urinate, even when you don’t feel the urge
• avoiding over-the-counter decongestants or antihistamine medications, which can make it harder for the bladder to empty
• avoiding alcohol and caffeine, especially in the hours after dinner
• reducing your stress level, as nervousness can increase the frequency of urination
• exercising regularly, as a lack of exercise can aggravate your symptoms
If you don’t get treatment for prostate problems, your bladder can become irritated because urine is backing up rather than being released.
Your symptoms may start to cause more issues in your day-to-day life. For instance, it may be tough for you to control your bladder.
The complications of benign prostatic hyperplasia may include
• acute urinary retention
• chronic, or long lasting, urinary retention
• blood in the urine
• urinary tract infections (UTIs)
• bladder damage
• kidney damage
• bladder stones
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