by Yenny (SU)

As men get older, BPH, short for benign prostatic hyperplasia, can start to affect your prostate gland and cause uncomfortable symptoms. This condition will often continue to develop, making it difficult for urine to flow from your bladder, causing pain, discomfort, and a host of other issues with your bladder, urinary tract, and kidneys – if not properly treated. To get a better understanding of BPH and prostate health, let’s start with the basics. 

What would my symptoms be?

Painful urination or feeling like you frequently have to urinate are the two most reported symptoms of this condition. It’s quite common for this urgency to result in a very weak stream or little amount of urine release. However, some BPH sufferers may experience blood in their urine, the inability to urinate at all, or an increase in urinary tract infections (UTI). These are symptoms that you should tell your doctor or urologist about immediately.

What should I look for?

Monitor your urination, first and foremost. If anything has changed from your past patterns, this could be a sign of blockage. Since your prostate gland is located just under your bladder, the more swollen the area, the more severe the blockage can affect your urine output. The longer this goes untreated, the more ramifications this could have on your bladder’s health and your urinary tract.

Who is most at risk?

Women are not at risk. BPH can only affect men, as women do not have prostate glands. You are also more at risk for BPH as you get older, as just about all men will deal with an enlarged prostate at some point in life. This condition affects men after the age of 40, so the risk of BPH is highly unlikely in younger ages. If your father or grandfather has prostate issues, you are also more at risk for the same genetic tendencies. Lastly, your weight and health make a significant difference. Those with diabetes, heart disease, or generally overweight individuals have a higher chance of being affected by BPH.

How can I treat BPH?

Your doctor will decide on the best course of treatment based on your pain and discomfort of your symptoms. If your pain and discomfort is mild, they might have you try ace inhibitors to relax your muscles or another medication that would help reduce the size of your prostate. If your symptoms are more significant, you might require surgery or therapy. If your BPH has progressed to where there are serious issues complicating your urinary tract and bladder, then surgery will probably be your best bet.

Most surgical options and procedures are not very invasive or long lasting, so fear of a complicated surgery really shouldn’t be a factor. 

If you suspect you might have BPH or could be at risk for BPH in the future, contact your urologist for a digital rectal exam, a blood test, and urine test. At Ironwood Urology, we’re here to help address and assess your prostate health, and other men’s health concerns. To learn more about possible symptoms affecting you, call Dr. Desi Avila at (480) 961-2323, or request an appointment online.