Half of all men between 50 and 60 years old will have developed an enlarged prostate. By the age of 80, ninety percent of men have had symptoms of BPH.
BPH is “benign prostatic hyperplasia”. This is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. It is so common in men that it is more likely than not they will have prostate health issues at some point in their lives.
An enlarged prostate causes uncomfortable and even painful symptoms such as a weak stream, difficulty starting to urinate, frequent urination and the inability to empty the bladder completely.
As the prostate continues to grow, symptoms can worsen. This can interfere with all routine activities, even sleep. When this occurs, quality of life goes down and physical activity becomes nearly impossible. If left untreated, an enlarging prostate can cause:
Inability to urinate
Damage to the kidneys, bladder and urethra
The symptoms of BPH can also be caused by another health condition of the prostate gland: prostate cancer. This is why it is so important to see a doctor if you are having these symptoms.
Enlarged Prostate – What It Is and What It Does
The prostate is a gland that wraps around the urethra just below the bladder. As it grows, it pushes against the urethra, effectively narrowing the passage of urine. The wall of the bladder thickens and is irritated and it starts contracting even when it isn’t full. This is why the urge to go is so often felt. As the bladder weakens, it doesn’t empty completely and there is urine left behind – which makes you feel the urge to go…
If it is determined that you have BPH, your treatment options include watching and waiting, drug therapy and possible surgery. Watching and waiting, or watchful waiting, means the doctor waits to see if symptoms worsen before prescribing medications or advising surgery. During this time, a man continues to be examined for symptom changes.
The treatments you receive for enlarged prostate are based on:
Expectations of the course of the disease
Tolerance for medications, therapies and procedures
Whether you have mild, moderate or severe symptoms, the importance of seeing a physician cannot be stressed enough. As stated before, your symptoms can be caused by other disease as well – the worst of them being prostate cancer. If caught early enough, prostate cancer can be curable. While it is more likely that your symptoms are caused by BPH, there is an element of danger involved in postponing your doctor visit.
An enlarged prostate may be common but it is also treatable. To let your symptoms go undiagnosed will only cause you pain. If you are over forty, see your doctor and ask about BPH.
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