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Benign Prostate Enlargement Treatment
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Prostate gland enlargement is a common condition as men get older. Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatic hypertrophy, prostate gland enlargement can cause bothersome urinary symptoms. Untreated prostate gland enlargement can block the flow of urine out of the bladder and can cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.
There are several effective treatments for prostate gland enlargement. In deciding the best option for you, you and your doctor will consider your particular symptoms, the size of your prostate, other health problems you may have and your preferences. Your choices may also depend on what treatments are available in your area. Treatments for prostate gland enlargement include medications, lifestyle changes and surgery.
Benign Prostate Enlargement Treatment
Prostate gland enlargement varies in severity among men and tends to gradually worsen over time. Prostate gland enlargement symptoms include:
Weak urine stream
Difficulty starting urination
Stopping and starting while urinating
Dribbling at the end of urination
Frequent or urgent need to urinate
Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
Straining while urinating
Not being able to completely empty the bladder
Urinary tract infection
Formation of stones in the bladder
Reduced kidney function
The size of your prostate doesn’t necessarily mean your symptoms will be worse. Some men with only slightly enlarged prostates have significant symptoms. On the other hand, some men with very enlarged prostates have only minor urinary symptoms.
Only about half the men with prostate gland enlargement have symptoms that become noticeable or bothersome enough for them to seek medical treatment. In some men, symptoms eventually stabilize and may even improve over time.
When to see a doctor
If you’re having urinary problems, see your doctor to check whether your symptoms are caused by an enlarged prostate and find out what tests or treatment you may need. If you’re unable to pass urine at all, seek immediate medical attention.
If you don’t find urinary symptoms too bothersome and they don’t pose a health threat, you may not need treatment. But you should still have your symptoms checked out by a doctor to make sure they aren’t caused by another problem such as prostate cancer.
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The prostate gland is the male organ that produces most of the fluid in semen, the milky-colored fluid that nourishes and transports sperm out of the penis during ejaculation (orgasm). It sits beneath your bladder. The tube that transports urine from the bladder out of your penis (urethra) passes through the center of the prostate. So, when the prostate enlarges, it begins to block (obstruct) urine flow.
Most men have continued prostate growth throughout life. In many men, this continued growth enlarges the prostate enough to cause urinary symptoms or to significantly block urine flow. Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes the prostate to enlarge. It may be due to changes in the balance of sex hormones as men grow older.
Prostate gland enlargement becomes a serious problem when it severely interferes with your ability to empty your bladder. If this is the case, you’ll probably need surgery. Complications of enlarged prostate include:
- Acute urinary retention. Acute urinary retention is a sudden, painful inability to urinate. This may occur after you’ve taken an over-the-counter decongestant medication for allergies or a cold. When you are unable to urinate at all, your doctor may thread a tube (catheter) through your urethra into your bladder. Or, your doctor may put in a suprapubic tube — a catheter that drains your bladder through the lower abdomen. The type of catheter you need will depend on your particular circumstances. Some men with an enlarged prostate require surgery or other procedures to relieve urinary retention.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs). Some men with an enlarged prostate end up having surgery to remove part of the prostate to prevent frequent urinary tract infections.
- Bladder stones. These are mineral deposits that can cause infection, bladder irritation, blood in the urine and obstruction of urine flow and are generally caused by the inability to completely empty the bladder.
- Bladder damage. This occurs when the bladder hasn’t emptied completely over a long period of time. The muscular wall of the bladder stretches and weakens and no longer contracts properly. Often, symptoms of bladder damage improve after prostate surgery or other treatment, but not always.
- Kidney damage. This is caused by high pressure in the bladder due to urinary retention. This high pressure can directly damage the kidneys or allow bladder infections to reach the kidneys. When an enlarged prostate causes obstruction of the kidneys, a condition called hydronephrosis — a swelling of the urine-collecting structures in one or both kidneys — may result.
Most men with an enlarged prostate don’t develop these complications. However, acute urinary retention and kidney damage in particular can be serious health threats when they do occur
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