The non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland in men is known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH. it is normal for the prostate to grow in size as you age, but not large enough to cause problems. The enlarged prostate may lead to further health issues such as urine flow blockage. It may also cause urinary tract or kidney problems.
Prostate health is a vital aspect of men’s health and well-being. The risk of BPH increases year after year. BPH grows inwards, causing symptoms that gradually become difficult to ignore. Most men are scared to go for a prostate check. As per the best urologist in Islamabad, this condition is now becoming quite common and it is better to know some important facts than to be unaware of risks and precautions. Let us go through some of them.
How it occurs
The prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows out from the bladder. A hormone, dihydrotestosterone, causes the cells of the prostate to multiply tremendously as men age. This proliferation causes it to grow in size abnormally. The enlarged organ presses against the urethra, causing urine flow obstruction. Incomplete emptying of the bladder results from these turn of events. Apart from age, risk factors include previous family history, obesity, and the occurrence of metabolic syndrome.
Signs and symptoms
Benign prostate hyperplasia may be responsible for causing a number of lower urinary tract symptoms. A person suffering from BPH may find it difficult to start urination. The urinary stream becomes weak, causing the need to strain the muscles to begin the flow of urine. An increase in the urgency of the need to urinate may occur. Less common symptoms may include a urinary tract infection or the occurrence of blood in the urine. Bladder stones and damage to the kidney are rare but may occur in some.
When is BPH treatment necessary?
The symptoms of BPH may surprisingly remain stable over time for many. It may also get better for some. This varies from case to case.
When the urinary obstruction is left untreated, complications of a thickened and irritable bladder can occur. This reduces the storage capacity of urine in the bladder. Incomplete emptying may then lead to infection arising in the residual urine inside the bladder. This may also lead to bladder stones. Damage to the kidney in this case is imminent.
Treatment is usually not indicated in people with little to no symptoms. Intervention is required in kidney damage due to inadequate bladder emptying, urinary retention, incontinence, bladder stones, and hematuria (blood in urine). Risk versus benefit is analyzed in the case of men presenting with moderate symptoms.
Currently, there are three main options of treatment available:
Watchful waiting with lifestyle modifications
For people with minimum symptoms, a strategy of “watchful waiting” is recommended. Simple lab tests and physical examination is done after a selected interval of time between the patient and their health care practitioner. Certain behavioral and lifestyle changes are recommended to the patients to mitigate some of the symptoms. These may include reducing excess consumption of fluids, especially before bed. Reduction in diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol is important. Decongestants and antihistamines cause urinary retention therefore these are prohibited. Cold weather and lack of physical activity may worsen the situation hence moderate exercise is necessary.
A range of medications are used in benign prostate hyperplasia. These medicines have varying mechanisms of action, but all work towards a common goal. Some are found to improve urine flow by relaxing the muscles of the bladder and urethra. Others decrease the production of hormone that is responsible for the growth of the prostate. These medicines have their own set of side effects and it is up to the doctor’s discretion to analyze pros and cons and administer the most relevant one.
When lifestyle changes and medication do not improve the condition, surgery is the only viable option for many men. Frequent urinary infections, bloody urine, stones, or acute urinary retention are possible reasons to perform surgery. Resection of the prostate, prostatectomy, or ablation of prostatic tissue are common surgical procedures done to alleviate symptoms.
In conclusion, it is better to be aware of basic physiology so as to know when abnormal symptoms occur. This may help you contact your health care practitioner at the appropriate time before it is too late. Eat a well balanced diet, lose weight and ensure adequate exercise throughout the day to prevent BPH.