The prostate gland surrounds the urethra in males and produces a fluid that contains sperm. As men get older it may get enlarged and this is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate enlargement. It puts pressure on the urethra causing it to narrow. It also causes the bladder to contract more forcefully to excrete urine which can be painful. Usually, men do not detect early symptoms and continue to live with the problem till it gets too serious to ignore.
Symptoms of enlarged prostate
- Need to urinate frequently
- Pain when urinating
- Weak urine flow
- A feeling of not emptying bladder
- Difficulty in starting to urinate
- Urine starts and stops
- Frequent trips to urinate in the night
Risks associated with prostate enlargement
If not taken seriously, a prostate enlargement can cause other health issues like:-
- Recurring urinary tract infections
- Development of bladder stones
- Bladder scarring
- Blood in urine
- An inability to urinate
How is it diagnosed?
Doctors will evaluate the severity of the enlarged prostate by doing a complete evaluation of your physical wellness. This could include:-
- A urine flow study
- Blood tests
- A rectal exam
- A void chart
- Prostate MRI
What puts people with BPH at risk?
- Recurrent UTIs
- Prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate
- Narrowing of the urethra
- Bladder scarring
- Kidney stones
- Nerve damage
Creating a treatment plan for an enlarged prostate
The treatment plan for an enlarged prostate will depend on the severity of your condition. If you have consulted a doctor early enough, they may try to control the symptoms with small lifestyle changes and bladder training. This could include a diet plan, tracking urine output and exercises to strengthen the bladder. Medication may be prescribed if necessary.
Surgical solutions to BPH
Doctors will prescribe surgery only if the symptoms are severe and have failed to respond to medication. Some of the surgical options include:-
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) – A resectoscope is inserted in the urethra to carry urine from bladder to penis.
Bladder neck incision – The urethra is widened to make it easier to pass urine.
Laser surgery – Used to destroy the enlarged prostate tissue.
Open prostatectomy – An incision is made in the abdomen and outer portion of the prostate will be removed.
It is important to consult a urologist if you suffer from any of the symptoms of prostate enlargement. If ignored, it can lead to complications and surgery.