How Does An Enlarged Prostate Affect Your Life
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland just in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra and produces fluid that contains sperm during ejaculation. As men age, it’s common for their prostate to become enlarged. This doesnt mean you have cancer. An enlarged prostate doesnt even raise your risk of having prostate cancer. Its actually a condition calledbenign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.
Our doctors at Gulf Coast Urology are experts in managing this condition. Its not fatal, but it can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Read on to find out the best treatment options for your enlarged prostate.
When Should You Call A Doctor For Bph
Urinary symptoms related to enlarging prostate initially affect the quality of life, and if no complications exist, as mentioned above , the decision to treat is optional and is left to the patient. This means that if you don’t feel bothered enough to take a medicine or undergo a procedure for it, you’ll need to follow up with your doctor to ensure the symptoms are stable, and the bladder empties well. This can be assessed by prostate symptom questionnaires and a measure of the strength of the urinary stream and residual urine in the bladder. If complications develop, however, or if the bladder starts holding increasing amounts of residual urine after urination, treatment should be started.
If you experience bladder pain or burning with urination, blood in the urine associated with fever/chills or nausea/vomiting, or if the prostate enlargement condition worsens and symptoms such as blood in the urine or lower back pain are present, consult a doctor immediately. If you cannot reach your doctor when these symptoms are present, seek evaluation at a hospital’s emergency department.
For acute symptoms such as acute urinary retention , you should immediately go to the closest emergency medical facility for bladder drainage, usually with a catheter, which is a tube inserted into the bladder.
Men over 50 years of age should have their prostate checked annually by their physician even if they have no symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Enlarged Prostate
Men with enlarged prostates experience some common symptoms that can get worse over time. With that said, symptoms arent linked to the size of the enlarged prostate. You can have a larger prostate and experience no symptoms or less severe symptoms than someone with a smaller prostate.;
Here are the most common symptoms:;
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Trouble emptying your bladder completely
- Nocturia, or increased urination at night;
- Inability or difficulty with starting urination
- Weak urine stream
- UTIs or urinary tract infections
- Blood in urine
There are several conditions that can mimic these symptoms. For example, kidney stones or cancer. Thats why its important to seek medical intervention as soon as you begin to notice anything abnormal.
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What Are Causes Of An Enlarged Prostate
Benign prostatic hyperplasia occurs mostly in older menEnlarged prostate symptoms generally appear after age 40. In fact, BPH or enlarged prostate can affect about half of men ages 51 to 60, according to the National Institutes of Health .
Experts arent really sure what exactly causes an enlarged prostate, but because it occurs mainly in older men, they believe it may be due to hormone changes. For instance, as guys age, they tend to produce less testosterone, giving them a higher percentage of estrogen. Its possible this can trigger prostate growth.
Its also possible that an accumulation of the hormone dihydrotestosterone or DHT, which can continue even after testosterone levels dip, can make your prostate cells continue to grow, the NIH says.
How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have prostate cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called the stage of the cancer. You may have heard other people say that their cancer was stage 1 or stage 2. Your doctor will want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what types of treatment might be best for you.
The stage is based on the growth or spread of the cancer through the prostate, and if it has spread to other parts of your body. It also includes your blood PSA level and the grade of the cancer. The prostate cancer cells are given a grade, based on how they look under a microscope. Those that look very different from normal cells are given a higher grade and are likely to grow faster. The grade of your cancer might be given as a Gleason score or a Grade Group . Ask your doctor to explain the grade of your cancer. The grade also can helpdecide which treatments might be best for you.
Your cancer can be stage 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
If your cancer hasnt spread to other parts of the body, it might also be given a risk group. The risk group is based on the extent of the cancer in the prostate, your PSA level, and the results of the prostate biopsy. The risk group can help tell if other tests should be done, and what the best treatment options might be.
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Is Diabetes Curable If Detected Early
But experts say diabetes can be reversed early on. If you follow the advice of your doctors and nutritionist and make an effort to lose weight, diabetes can be reversed by normalizing your blood sugar levels without medication early in the course of the disease, that is the first three to five years, Dr.
How Might An Enlarged Prostate Affect My Life
Having an enlarged prostate affects men in different ways. Some men can manage mild symptoms and dont need treatment. Other men find they need to stay near a toilet. This can make it difficult to work, drive, be outdoors and attend social events. If you need the toilet a lot during the night, this can affect your sleep and make you feel more tired during the day.
Some men with an enlarged prostate find their symptoms improve over time without treatment. But for most, the symptoms will stay the same or slowly start to cause more problems over time unless they have;treatment.
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Minimally Invasive Treatments For An Enlarged Prostate
When medications don’t help your enlarged prostate, several procedures can relieve symptoms — without surgery. They are performed in a doctor’s office. “These procedures use various types of heat energy to shrink a portion of the prostate,” explains Westney. “They are very effective.”
TUMT : This therapy for mild to moderate blockage reduces urinary frequency, urgency, straining, and intermittent flow — but does not correct any bladder-emptying problems. In this procedure, computer-regulated microwaves are used to heat portions within the prostate to destroy select tissue. A cooling system protects the wall of the urethra during the procedure. TUMT is performed in a doctor’s office and requires only topical anesthesia and pain medications.
Possible side effects include painful urination for several weeks. Temporary urgency and frequency of urination is also possible. There may be less semen ejaculated. Many men must have this procedure repeated, either because symptoms return or do not improve.
TUNA : This procedure also destroys prostate tissue to improve urine flow and relieve symptoms. It involves heating the tissue with high-frequency radiowaves transmitted by needles inserted directly into the prostate . The procedure does not require a hospital stay. Possible side effects include painful, urgent, or frequent urination for a few weeks.
Not Sure What To Do Next
If you are still concerned about your prostate problems, why not use healthdirects online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
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What Are Common Prostate Problems What Are The Symptoms And Signs
Here are some examples of non-cancer prostate problems:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, means your prostate is enlarged, but is not cancerous. It is very common in older men. An enlarged prostate may make it very difficult to urinate or cause dribbling after you urinate. You may feel the need to urinate a lot, often at night. See your family doctor for an exam. Treatments for BPH include:
- Watchful waiting, also called active surveillance. If your symptoms are not too bad, your doctor may tell you to wait before starting any treatment to see if the problem gets worse. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to return for checkups. You can start treatment later if your symptoms worsen.
- Medications. There are medicines that can help shrink the prostate or help relax muscles near your prostate to ease your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about possible side effects.
- Surgery. If nothing else has worked, your doctor may suggest surgery to help urine flow. There are many types of BPH surgery. Talk with your doctor about the risks. Regular checkups are important after surgery.
- Other treatments. Sometimes radio waves, microwaves, or lasers are used to treat urinary problems caused by BPH. These methods use different kinds of heat to reduce extra prostate tissue.
Prostate Specific Antigen Testing
Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein made by the cells in your prostate. Your PSA levels can be measured using a blood test and give an indication of your prostate health.
A PSA test isnt a test for cancer. Higher levels of PSA might indicate prostate cancer, but a high reading could also be caused by other conditions. It is also possible to have low level readings and have prostate cancer. This means that a PSA test isnt enough to definitively diagnose or rule out prostate cancer. Your PSA levels can vary, so your doctor might run this test a few times to compare your results and help determine your risk of prostate cancer.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Problems
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Need to get up many times during the night to urinate
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain or burning urination
- Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs
See your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
Treatment for An Enlarged Prostate
Avoiding the symptoms of an enlarged prostate can cause further complications later on. Untreated BPH can cause urinary tract infections, incontinence, urinary retention , and kidney stones. Treatment options for an enlarged prostate include medications and surgery. After your consultation, your urologist can make a diagnosis and give you treatment options, based on these factors:
- How your symptoms interfere with your everyday life
- The size of your prostate
- Overall health
- Other medical conditions
To learn more about how to treat your enlarged prostate call Charlotte Mens Health at 786-5131 to request an appointment, or request one online.
What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia , or benign prostatic hypertrophy, is an enlargement of the prostate, a walnut-sized gland that forms part of the male reproductive system. During ejaculation, the prostate secretes fluid into the urethra, the narrow tube that runs through the center of the prostate. When a man urinates, the bladder;squeezes urine out through the urethra.
As a man ages, the prostate can become enlarged. Because it surrounds the urethra right at the bladder exit, the prostate may squeeze or pinch the urethra as it gets larger over time. This may cause difficulty with urination such as a slow stream, the need to strain, increased frequency, urgency to urinate, incomplete emptying of the bladder, and intermittent flow or dribbling.
BPH is the most common disorder of the prostate gland and the most common diagnosis by urologists;for males between the ages of 45 and 74. More than half of men in their sixties and as many as 90 percent in their seventies and eighties have some symptoms of BPH.
Although research has yet to pinpoint a specific cause for BPH, theories focus on hormones and related substances like dihydrotestosterone , a testosterone derivative in the prostate that may encourage the growth of cells.
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Further Tests For An Enlarged Prostate
Depending on your test results, you may have further tests to find out what is causing your symptoms.
Bladder pressure test
This shows how well your bladder is working. The doctor passes thin tubes up your penis and fills your bladder with a clear liquid. Thin tubes are also placed in your back passage . The tubes measure the pressure in your bladder, back passage and urethra. You will then be asked to empty your bladder, and the pressures will be measured again while you urinate. You may have this test if youre thinking about having surgery to treat an enlarged prostate, or if youve had surgery but your symptoms havent improved or are getting worse.
This shows whether you have a blockage or any abnormal tissue in your urethra or bladder. A doctor or specialist nurse will pass a thin tube up your penis into your bladder. Youll be able to feel the tube moving, but anaesthetic gel will be used to make the test more comfortable. The tube has a light and camera on the end so the doctor or nurse can see the inside of your urethra and bladder on a screen. You may have this test if you have severe urinary symptoms, blood in your urine or pain, or if you often get urine infections. You may also have this test if your doctor thinks your urethra or the opening of your bladder may be too narrow this is called a stricture.
The Most Common Prostate Problem Among Men Over Age 50 This Condition Can Cause Embarrassing Urination Issues
While BPH does not increase your risk of getting prostate cancer or having sexual problems, it can affect quality of life, specifically by causing annoying and embarrassing urination problems.
“Since prostate enlargement happens gradually, men often think more frequent trips to the bathroom are a natural part of aging,” says Dr. Howard LeWine, chief medical editor at Harvard Health Publishing and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “But a little medication can help relieve symptoms, meaning less urinary urgency and fewer nighttime awakenings to use the bathroom.”
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How Can You Know That You Have An Enlarged Prostate
Located right next to the bladder, the prostate is a tiny, walnut-sized gland thats vital for the normal functioning of the male reproductive system. It is wrapped around the urethra and significantly influences how the urethra transports both sperm and semen. As the prostate grows and swells, it puts a lot of pressure on the bladder and can obstruct urine flow through the urethra, resulting in various urinary issues.
If you have an enlarged prostate, you will:
The early warning signs of BPH include:
1. Weak or slow urination
As your prostate enlarges, it puts pressure on your urethra and bladder, interrupting urine flow, resulting in either a weak flow or a prolonged stay in the bathroom. This is a very early and most common sign of BPH, and youve probably heard older men joke about how long they take to urinate. So when you have an enlarged prostate, urine does not exit normally and the resulting stream is quite weak.
2. Leaking of urine
Those embarrassing wet spots on your pants may just be the warning that you have an enlarged prostate. Why? Because a swollen prostate not only makes it difficult to urinate, but also makes it harder to retain urine in your bladder, resulting in urine leakage. The enlarged prostate also puts a lot of pressure both on your urethra and on your bladder and compromises your normal ability to hold urine.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Less urine than usual
- Back, side, or abdominal pain
- Blood or pus in your urine
Also call if:
- Your bladder does not feel completely empty after you urinate.
- You take medicines that may cause urinary problems, such as diuretics, antihistamines, antidepressants, or sedatives. DO NOT stop or change your medicines without talking to your provider.
- You have tried self-care steps for 2 months and symptoms have not improved.
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If You Are Diagnosed With Bph
Taken together, these tests will help your doctor determine whether you have BPH;and if you do, how severe it is. If you have BPH, your doctor should provide you with information on whether simply monitoring your symptoms is a reasonable option, or whether treatment is a better option.
BPH can be treated medically or surgically in some cases.
What Tests Might I Have At The Gp Surgery
Your GP will ask about your;symptoms, how long youve had them, whether they are getting worse over time, and how they are affecting your life.
Before you visit your GP, you might want to think about how often youve had symptoms over the last month. This may help you explain your symptoms to your GP. You might also want to keep a diary of how much you drink and how often you urinate.
Your GP will check whether your symptoms might be caused by another health problem, such as diabetes, or by any medicines you are taking, such as blood pressure medicines, anti-depressants or herbal medicines.
They will also check whether your symptoms could be caused by your lifestyle for example, if you often drink large amounts of fluid, alcohol, or drinks containing caffeine .
Your GP may ask you to keep a diary for a few days to check how much you are drinking, what type of drinks you have, how much urine you pass, and how often and at what times you urinate. A diary can help your doctor to work out what may be causing your symptoms and how to treat them.
Your GP may ask you for a urine sample to check for blood or any infection that could be causing your symptoms. You may need to give more than one sample. If you have an infection your GP will give you a course of antibiotics.
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