Enlarged Prostate – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The prostate gland, which is normally about the size and shape of a walnut, wraps around the urethra between the pubic bone and the rectum, below the bladder. In the early stage of prostate enlargement, the bladder muscle becomes thicker and forces urine through the narrowed urethra by contracting more powerfully.

Enlarged Prostate Causes

The cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia is unknown. It is possible that the condition is associated with hormonal changes that occur as men age. The testes produce the hormone testosterone, which is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol (estrogen) in certain tissues.

Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate

Prostate gland enlargement varies in severity among men and doesn’t always pose a problem. Only about half the men with prostate gland enlargement experience signs and symptoms that become noticeable or bothersome enough for them to seek medical treatment. These signs and symptoms may include:

Weak urine stream

Difficulty starting urination

Diagnosis of Enlarged Prostate

Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your general health. You may be asked to fill in a urination questionnaire to help work out the severity of your symptoms.

Your doctor will examine the size and consistency of your prostate by inserting a finger into your rectum. This is called a digital rectal examination (DRE).

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test

To rule out cancer as a cause of urinary symptoms, your doctor may recommend a PSA blood test. PSA, a protein produced by prostate cells, is frequently present at elevated levels in the blood of men who have prostate cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a PSA test for use in conjunction with a digital rectal examination to help detect prostate cancer in men who are age 50 or older and for monitoring men with prostate cancer after treatment.

Treatment – Enlarged Prostate

The choice of a treatment is based on the severity of your symptoms, the extent to which they affect your daily life, and the presence of any other medical conditions. Treatment options include “watchful waiting,” lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.

If you are over 60, you are more likely to have symptoms. But many men with an enlarged prostate have only minor symptoms. Self-care steps are often enough to make you feel better.

Surgical removal of part of the prostate gland used to be the most common treatment for BPH. Usually, prostate tissue is removed in a procedure called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). Despite its excellent results, TURP has a greater chance than do other treatments of causing side effects — retrograde ejaculation being the most common.

Medication treatment prostate enlargement

There are two types of medication that help to control the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, they are alpha blockers and finasteride Proscar, Propecia. Alpha blockers are effective in about 75% of men. They work by relaxing the muscles at the neck of the bladder making urination easier. The FDA has approved three types: doxazosin Cardura; tamsulosin Flomax and terazosin Hytrin.

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