Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), otherwise known as prostate gland enlargement, is a common medical condition which affects more than 37 million men each year in the United States. This condition can develop or worsen as men grow older, making regular trips to the urologist a necessity.
But what is an enlarged prostate and how can it affect me?
Here are some of the primary reasons you may wish to seek a urologic consultation about your prostate today.
What is BPH?
As mentioned above, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common medical condition in older men. It occurs when the prostate grows larger, resulting in a variety of adverse symptoms. Before you search for “prostate cancer treatment services Houston, TX”, rest assured that prostate enlargement doesn’t necessarily mean it is a form of cancer. In fact, prostate enlargement happens in almost all men as they age. Of these, about 50% of men will end up seeking treatment. Your urologist will often begin by having you fill out a simple questionnaire to assess your symptoms, followed by a prostate exam and blood test called the “PSA” to rule out prostate cancer before addressing your symptoms of prostate enlargement.
What are the side effects of an enlarged prostate?
Because the prostate surrounds the urethra (the tube that drains the bladder) like a doughnut, even minor growth of the prostate can cause significant urinary problems in men. Many men experience the need to urinate more often while others find it difficult to urinate in the first place. As such, many men will have difficulty starting urination, experience a weak flow, or even find it impossible to empty their bladder completely. Whereas men are typically willing to put up with the decrease in stream or minor dribble of urine after voiding, they often seek medical attention when it begins to affect their sleep (as in frequent trips to the bathroom at night with interrupted sleep). Other symptoms of an enlarged prostate include urinary tract infections and blood in the urine, though these issues are far less common.
Your urologist will have you fill out an initial questionnaire called the IPSS score to assess the severity of your symptoms followed by a “bother score” that asks how you would rate your quality of life if you were to live with these symptoms. Treatments (lifestyle adjustments, medications, and/or surgery) would then be followed by a repeat score and follow up visit to see how much improvement has been achieved if any (see below).
What causes BPH?
Unfortunately, there is no known cause for prostate enlargement. Because men who have their testicles removed at a young age may not develop the condition, it is thought that prostate enlargement is the result of hormonal imbalances that occur as you grow older. Those with diabetes or a family history of benign prostatic hyperplasia are at an increased risk for developing it later in life, but it’s thought that all men will inevitably encounter some form of BPH if they live long enough. In fact, some 90% of men over the age of 80 have BPH.
What treatments are available for BPH?
Treatments typically start with conservative measures such as restricting fluids 2 hrs before bed (for those with bothersome night-time urinary frequency), avoiding excess caffeine during the day, and/or emptying the bladder before leaving the house. Men with more severe symptoms will often begin a trial of one of a variety of medications that can either “open the channel” for those with a poor stream, “shrink” the enlarged prostate, or treat the bladder frequency and/or urgency directly. For those who also suffer from erectile dysfunction (E.D.), they may be a good candidate to try a daily Cialis 5 mg to see if this helps both conditions at the same time. Finally, for men whose symptoms are not controlled with these measures or who are not able to tolerate medications (or don’t wish to take them), there are a variety of surgical options available. These include (but are not limited to): the UroLift procedure (the only one that spares sexual function), Rezum, Greenlight laser PVP, and bipolar TURP.
Are you suffering from prostate enlargement or looking for prostate health services in Houston? Visit us at durranimd.com and let us help you diagnose and treat your urological problems. Schedule your urology consultation today to get your health back on track.