Don’t Ignore Prostate Problems

Aging increases the incidence of some conditions. One of them, unique to men, is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as prostate gland enlargement. Prostate problems become much more likely after the age of 50.

 

The prostate, a small gland that helps to make semen is locate below the bladder and encircles the urethra, which carries both urine and semen out of the body. This specialized gland has a tendency to enlarge as a man ages. If it becomes too large, it can cause a number of uncomfortable urinary symptoms. Among these is blockage of urine flow, as well as bladder, kidney or urinary tract issues.

Symptoms of an enlarged prostate can vary in number and severity. These symptoms include increased frequency of urination at night; urgent need to urinate; a weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts; inability to empty the bladder; difficulty starting urination or dribbling urine when urination stops. Sometimes blood in the urine, the inability to urinate or urinary tract infections may be indicators of an enlarged prostate. Other conditions, such as prostatitis or urethral stricture, can create symptoms that are similar to those of an enlarged prostate. If you experience any of the symptoms described above and suspect an enlarged prostate is to blame, it’s important to consult your provider to identify the cause of the symptoms and develop a treatment plan.

Some factors can increase the likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate gland, along with the associated bothersome symptoms. It’s unusual for prostate gland enlargement to cause signs and symptoms in men under the age of 40. But about one-third of men experience moderate to severe symptoms by the age 60, and nearly one-half do by the age of 80, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic. Having a blood relative, such as a father or a brother, who has experienced prostate problems, increases the likelihood that you’ll have prostate problems. Additionally, research shows that diabetes and heart disease can increase the chance of developing BPH. Two important lifestyle aspects play roles in the development of BPH: obesity increases the risk of BPH, while physical activity in the form of exercise can lower the risk.

Treatments for BPH vary, depending on an individual’s specific situation. Some providers find the best course of action is watchful waiting to determine whether deterioration in condition progresses over time. The use of medication could be an appropriate choice, as some drugs have the ability to shrink the prostate or relax the surrounding muscles. Sometimes surgery is an option when other treatments have been unsuccessful. Additional techniques include the use of radio wave or laser treatments.

If symptoms of BPH provide a source of concern, be sure to call these symptoms to your provider’s attention so a proper diagnosis can be made. Once you and your provider become aware of the specific problem, you’re in a position to select the proper treatment and lay the ideal groundwork for successful treatment.

Author
Ithaca Primary Care

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