The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system located in the lower urinary tract. A healthy prostate is the size of a large walnut and weighs approximately 15-25gms.
However, as men grow older there can be changes in the structure of prostate. It commonly can cause enlargement of prostate in men over 50 years of age. This condition is called as “Benign Prostatic Enlargement (BPE) – the cause of which is not well understood”.
A report states that more than 50% of older men have some symptoms related to it. One should note that Benign Prostatic Enlargement (BPE) does not mean you have prostate cancer. Though an enlarged prostate can be frustrating but it usually isn’t so serious.
Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS)
An enlarged prostate compresses the urethra at the outlet of bladder, which can affect the way you normally urinate. Sometimes symptoms can be mild like which you may need to urinate more often or it is more difficult to empty your bladder completely. For older people, there is nothing to worry at this stage as it can be a part of ageing process just like decline in mobility, flexibility and memory.
However, serious Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) for which might require medical intervention are:
- (Storage Symptoms) The way you hold the urine in the bladder:
The need to wake up at night to urinate
Any involuntary loss of urine
The need to urinate more often than usual
The sudden need to urinate and having trouble postponing it
- (Voiding symptoms) The way you urinate:
Splitting or spraying of the urine stream
A weak stream of urine
The flow of urine starts and stops
It takes longer to finish urinating
Straining when urinating
It takes a while before the urinary flow starts
In rare cases, acute or chronic urinary retention
- (Post-micturition Symptoms) How you feel after you urinate
Involuntary loss or dribbling of urine into your underwear shortly after leaving the toilet
The feeling that the bladder is not completely empty
(Urgent Symptoms) Men with the following symptoms should immediately seek intervention:
Blood in the urine
Severe pain in the lower abdomen and urinary tract
Inability to urinate
Urgent, painful and frequent need to urinate
Frequent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)
How to diagnose to know symptoms are due to BPE?
To diagnose and confirm that above symptoms are signs of BPE, Urologists usually run series of tests to understand what causes your symptoms after taking proper medical history. The symptoms listed previously can point to many diseases and not only BPE. That is why you may need to take several tests before the urologist can make a diagnosis.
Ways to find solution for an Enlarged Prostate
Do not hold in urine when you feel the urge to urinate, so as unnecessary controlling can cause the bladder to stretch and damage.
Exercise more: Always good to be physically more active.
Stay warm: Keeping yourself in a warm environment can reduce urinating frequently
Maintain an ideal weight as obesity is considered to be one of the reasons for an enlarged prostate.