Is the enlargement of the prostate gland in men inevitable? Is it harmful to a man’s overall health and quality of life? What causes what doctor’s call BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?
What Is an Enlarged Prostate?
Exclusive to the male genitourinary tract, the prostate gland is a walnut-sized organ surrounding the urethra or tube through which urine and semen pass. The prostate, responsible for seminal fluid production, can grow substantially in size–reaching the dimensions of a lemon.
Though non-cancerous, this enlargement, or hyperplasia, can interfere with health and quality of life. Accordingly, BPH should be assessed and treated.
What Are the Symptoms of BPH?
Approximately 40 million American men are all too familiar with the symptoms of prostate enlargement. The condition usually starts in middle age and progresses through the entire lifespan. About 80 percent of men 80 and over have symptoms of BPH.
While benign, BPH harms the quality of life and self-esteem and can permanently impact how well the urinary bladder functions. So, as soon as symptoms start, men should seek medical assessment and treatment, if needed, through the expertise and skill of a board-certified urologist specializing in men’s health issues.
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland include:
- A weak urine stream that stops and starts
- Retention of urine in the bladder
- Urinary urgency and frequency, particularly at night
Additionally, men with BPH often feel embarrassed and worried they will not reach the bathroom in time. Yet, these same men may postpone medical treatment until symptoms are very severe.
What Causes the Prostate to Enlarge?
While the process of prostate enlargement is somewhat mysterious, it does involve rapid and abundant multiplication of the structural cells of the gland. Age definitely is a factor, and research strongly indicates a link to:
- Obesity (particularly excess abdominal fat)
- A high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet
- Lack of regular exercise
- Hereditary factors not related to race or ethnicity
What Are the Best Enlarged Prostate Treatments?
While causes for BPH can vary, treatment is essential. The treatments can include one or a combination of:
- Oral medications to reduce prostate size and to open the urethra to promote the free flow of urine
- Laser removal of the prostate
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) to reduce prostate size
- Urolift, a non-surgical solution that places implants under the prostate to move it up and away from the urethra
- Changes in diet and activity level
Your urologist will customize your care plan to suit your medical needs, lifestyle, age, and personal preferences.
Ironwood Urology in Phoenix and Gilbert, AZ
If you think you’re at risk for enlarged prostate or have symptoms of enlarged prostate and seek a lasting solution, visit our urologist and men’s health expert Dr. Avila. at Ironwood Urology. Our men’s health expert can detect any problem with the prostate sooner during an annual prostate exam and increase your chances of successful treatment. He also guides men toward proper sexual and urinary function and better prostate health.