Millions of men over age 50 likely have some benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement of the prostate gland that may be related to the natural aging process.
If you’re over 50, you have a 50% chance of developing BPH. If you’re over 80, your odds of having BPH climb to 90%. Being common and “natural,” however, doesn’t mean you have to struggle with the urinary problems associated with BPH. Treatments exist that effectively manage BPH symptoms and decrease the physical, social, and even emotional effects it can have on your life.
The highly respected urologists at Urology Center of Florida in Pompano Beach are experts in diagnosing and treating issues that affect men’s urologic health, including BPH. These board-certified specialists are happy to provide insight regarding BPH and what you need to know about managing this condition.
The prostate gland is about the size and shape of a walnut and sits directly below the urinary bladder. It’s responsible for producing the fluid (semen) in which sperm are carried. The small tube (urethra) that carries urine from your bladder and out of the penis passes through the center of the prostate.
Normally, the prostate gland continues to grow slowly throughout a man’s lifetime. A layer of tough tissue surrounding the gland prevents it from growing outward. Rather, the glandular tissue expands inward and can eventually act as a clamp that restricts normal urine flow through the urethra. This causes the urinary symptoms related to BPH.
What are the symptoms of BPH?
Symptoms can vary and typically start slowly and may worsen over time. You may experience:
- A sense of urinary urgency and the frequent need to urinate
- Nocturia or the need to urinate frequently at night, which can greatly disrupt sleep patterns
- A weak urine stream or a steam that stops and starts
- Difficulty starting urination
- Persistent dribbling at the end of urination
- The inability to completely empty your bladder
Essentially, BPH turns the previously simple task of emptying your bladder into a chore that can keep you up at night and greatly increase your time in the bathroom throughout the day.
Does having BPH mean I have prostate cancer?
No. Although prostate enlargement is one of the possible signs of prostate cancer, BPH is a noncancerous condition that often responds well to treatment. That being said, your provider at Urology Center of Florida may recommend diagnostic studies to rule out cancerous changes in the prostate.
Hormone imbalances and other age-related changes are thought to be the main cause of BPH.
We also know that your risk of developing symptomatic BPH as you age increases if you:
- Have a family history of BPH in a father or brother
- Have diabetes or heart disease
- Are obese
- Are not physically active
Can I prevent BPH?
There are no definitive steps you can take to completely prevent BPH. However, your risk of developing the condition increases if you also have heart disease, diabetes or obesity and/or lead a sedentary lifestyle. It makes sense then that reducing those risks through a healthy diet and routine exercise may also reduce your risk of developing symptomatic BPH.
What is the treatment for BPH?
The degree of your prostate enlargement doesn’t always predict the severity of your symptoms. Some men experience significant issues with relatively mild prostatic enlargement while others with severe enlargement have minor symptoms or none at all.
Treatment is often based on the severity of your symptoms and may include:
- Oral medication to relax muscles in the bladder neck and prostate so that urine flows more smoothly
- Medications to shrink your prostate by controlling hormonal imbalances
- Minimally invasive surgical procedures to reduce the size of your prostate and strengthen urine flow
Managing your BPH symptoms starts with an evaluation by a urologist. Schedule a visit with a board-certified specialist at Urology Center of Florida today. Call the office, or book your appointment online.