Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) represents an enlargement of the prostate gland. In men, prostate has the role of producing the liquid in which semen swim. It is placed directly under the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Prostate growth is a natural phenomenon. First, it doubles in size during puberty, when the other sex organs become active. Next, it starts a secondary, gradual growth phase after the age of 25.
The name benign signifies that this type of prostate enlargement is not cancer related, thus it does not pose a threat for your life. However, it brings forth a series of unpleasant symptoms, among which frequent urination during the night.
How Widespread Is Benign Prostate Hyperplasia?
BPH is one of the most frequent conditions associated with advancing in age for men. Around 50% of men aged 60 have BPH. The percentage goes as high as 95% by the age of 85. However, around half of men with benign prostatic hyperplasia suffer from symptoms which need to be treated.
Why It Is Important to Have BPH Properly Diagnosed?
Since it is such a widespread condition, why do you need to have it diagnosed? Is it not part of the natural process of aging? The problem is that BPH and prostate cancer have many similar symptoms.
Therefore, it is important to see a doctor and find out whether you are simply part of the general statistic, or you need to receive a specific treatment protocol. Thus, starting with the age of 55, you should start getting screened on an annual basis. The screening is painless, involving a quick physical exam and several urine and blood tests.
The Most Frequent Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
How do you realize that you have BPH? You should consider going to get screened if you are over 50 and experience:
- Frequent urination
- Increased frequency of urination at night
- Sensation that your bladder is not empty after urination
- Weak urine stream, dribbling at the end of urination
- Difficulty starting urination.
Some rarer and more severe symptoms include inability to urinate at all and noticing blood in the urine. In these extreme cases, you must see a doctor immediately.
What Can You Do to Prevent BPH?
Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent BPH. However, you may delay its onset or limit its symptoms by:
- Maintaining an active lifestyle
- Keeping your weight under control
- Choosing a healthy diet, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
These simple choices will also allow you to live longer and have an improved quality of life.
How Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Treated?
Depending on your specific case, your doctor will recommend medication, especially alpha blockers or treatments for erectile dysfunctions. If your symptoms are moderate to severe, you may be recommended minimally invasive surgery to remove layers of the prostate, compress its size or cause it to shrink.
One of the most recent BPH treatment procedures of this type is called embolization. The blood supply to and from the prostate is selectively blocked, thus it will decrease in size.