Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) generally interferes with the process of urination and can cause discomfort. If you’ve experienced difficult or uncomfortable urination, you may be feeling worried. Perhaps you’ve even researched “prostate enlargement treatment near me.” Advanced Urology is here for you.
Treatment of enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) often targets relieving discomfort and preventing an escalation of the condition. If left untreated, BPH can affect the bladder, urethra, or the kidneys—these structures make up the urinary tract. It is, therefore, important that you contact your doctor immediately if you experience any discomfort while urinating. Further tests will either confirm the condition or rule it out altogether.
BPH develops when non-cancerous nodules begin to grow in the prostate gland. This causes the gland to expand, a process that in turn constricts the urethra tube passing through it. BPH is a progressive condition where the gland increases in size over time. Statistics show that at 40 years, 20 percent of men will experience an enlarged prostate. This figure grows to 70 percent and 90 percent of men aged 60 and 80, respectively. This high prevalence rate coupled with a lack of pathological factors linked to it seems to indicate that BPH is simply an age-related occurrence, rather than a disease-related one.
If you are a man over the age of 40, it is highly likely that you may experience an enlarged prostate. This may start with mild symptoms that come and go and it may not be any cause for alarm. These mild symptoms can be managed with medication (such as alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors) and a blend of lifestyle and behavioral changes. Over time, your prostate may continue to enlarge and cause more acute symptoms. When this happens, it may be time to consider other forms of treatment, including minimally invasive surgery or combination drug therapy.
It is not entirely clear what the causes of BPH are. It is thought that as men age, changes in sex hormones may be responsible for the gradual enlargement of the prostate. However, there are some risk factors that are associated with BPH.
- Age – If you are over 40 years, you run a higher risk of getting BPH.
- Genetics – If you have a close relative like a brother or father with BPH, you may be genetically predisposed to get the condition.
- Medication for low testosterone– If you use testosterone or other hormone supplements, they may cause your prostate to enlarge.
- Lifestyle – Obesity can increase the risk of BPH.
- Medical complications – Conditions like urinary tract infections (UTIs), prostatitis, urethral stricture, kidney stones, and prostate or bladder cancer can also worsen or lead to BPH.
Prevention of BPH involves a combination of living a healthy lifestyle and regular checkups. While these measures, in a strict sense, will not prevent BPH, they will help delay or prevent further prostate enlargement.
How to prevent BPH:
- Exercise – Regular exercise has been shown to improve blood flow and regulate hormones.
- Diet – Foods that improve prostate health include berries, oily fish, nuts, legumes, green tea, and watermelon.
- Avoid caffeine-rich beverages – These have been shown to overwork your kidneys and to irritate bladder and urethra linings.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Living in Atlanta with BPH (Enlarged Prostate)
If you have been diagnosed with BPH in Atlanta, there are some steps you can take to prevent further enlargement of your prostate or reverse the effects.
Healthy lifestyle tips for living with BPH include:
- Limit evening beverages – To avoid exerting pressure on your bladder and prostate while you sleep, limit your fluid intake two to three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine – This can increase the amount of urine produced, which can worsen your symptoms.
- Monitor medications – Drugs like antihistamines and decongestants have been shown to tighten muscles surrounding the urethra, which may make it harder to urinate.
- Go often – Do not wait to feel pressed. Go whenever you feel the slightest urge.
- Plan your bathroom visits – Try and schedule your urination times so you can empty your bladder before it gets full. This will also train your mind to go at these regular intervals.
- Be active and eat well – A healthy lifestyle is the foundation of a healthy body.
- Stay warm – When you are cold you tend to feel the urge to urinate more often. Staying warm can help reduce this frequency.
How to Know When to See a Doctor for an Enlarged Prostate
If you are worried you may have BPH, you may have begun researching “BPH treatment near me.”
There are some signs and symptoms you can look out for before seeing a doctor in Atlanta for BPH treatment.
BPH signs and symptoms include:
- Have a frequent urge to urinate
- Nocturia (urinating a lot at night)
- Finding it hard to start urinating
- When urinating, the urine stream is weak or starts and stops
- Dribbling after finishing urinating
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately for further tests. It is important, to note, however, that multiple factors can give rise to these symptoms. As such, you should avoid self-medicating, even if the symptoms are mild and intermittent. The symptoms could be the signs of more serious conditions such as a prostate infection or prostate cancer.
What to Expect When Seeking Treatment for BPH (Enlarged Prostate)
Diagnosis and treatment of BPH depend on the level of enlargement, other conditions you may be receiving treatment for, and prior treatment of the same condition.
Some diagnostic approaches you will encounter include:
- Digital rectal exam – The doctor will use a finger inserted into your rectum to examine your prostate size.
- Urinalysis – A urine sample will be tested to rule out any other causes.
- Blood test – This is used to rule out any kidney problems.
- PSA test – A prostate-specific antigen test checks the possibility of the symptoms being due to prostate cancer.
Once diagnosed, the doctor will provide you with treatment options. These will depend on your age and health, prostate size, and severity of symptoms. If your prostate is not very enlarged, you may be given BPH medication or office-based treatments such as prostatic lift (Urolift) or steam vaporization (Rezum), to manage the symptoms. If your prostate is very enlarged, surgical treatment may be recommended. There are, however, other treatments available that include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT), laser therapy, among others.