What Are The Risk Factors For Enlarged Prostate
Researchers are still largely unclear on what causes the prostate to become enlarged but risk factors include:
- Age: As many as 90 percent of men over the age of 80 have an enlarged prostate.
- Family history: Men who have a family history of the condition are more likely to suffer from it.
- Other health issues: Men who suffer from obesity, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes have higher rates of an enlarged prostate diagnoses.
What Are The Best Treatments For Prostate Cancer
Surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapylots of treatment options exist for prostate cancer. And, in some cases, you may need no treatment at all. Whats right for you will depend several factors:
Your PSA level
Your Gleason score
Your current health and comorbidities
The stage of your cancer, particularly whether it remains confined to your prostate or has spread to other parts of your body
Now, lets take a look at the different possibilities:
What Is An Enlarged Prostate
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the official medical term used to describe an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate occurs when the prostate gland, a gland that produces seminal fluid located around the urethra, grows larger than its regular size, which is about the same as a walnut.
While the exact causes of BPH are unknown, medical professionals know that its linked to aging. In other words, the older you get, the more likely you are to have an enlarged prostate. Other risk factors include:
- Family history of BPH
- Heart disease
In addition to the above factors, scientists believe BPH may also be linked to rising testosterone levels and changes at the cellular level in the testicles. The condition isnt cancerous, nor does it increase your chances of getting prostate cancer, but it can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
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Ignoring Your Symptoms Can Cause Complications
Many men find that their symptoms come on so gradually, they dont even notice them or they simply adapt to them. Many times others notice changes and will point them out. However you acknowledge you have the above symptoms, do not ignore them or they could become a serious medical condition.
With time and no treatment, BPH can obstruct the bladder from emptying completely which can lead to your bladder not functioning properly. A failed bladder may result in you not being able to urinate at all. This is a medical emergency and needs immediate treatment. Even if this is corrected, you might still need a catheter to urinate.
Another complication from untreated BPH is a backup of urine resulting in kidney problems. Once that occurs you may need dialysis or a transplant.
It Can Help Improve Urine Flow
Urine should come out in a steady steam, but if a man has a swollen prostate or an inflammation, the prostate can irritate the bladder, causing the urine flow from the bladder through the urethra to be slow or even cut off.
“The improvements seen in urine flow from prostate massage again can be the result of decreasing inflammation in the prostate, which may be contributing to a man’s urinary problems,” says Gonzalez. Men can also try Kegel exercises if they’re experiencing issues with urine flow.
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What Drinks Are Bad For An Enlarged Prostate
Caffeine is inflammatory in nature, meaning itll likely make the problem of an enlarged prostate worse. Breakfast tea and coffee are the biggest culprits here but dont forget that many fizzy drinks and energy juices are also full of caffeine.
As I explained earlier in this piece, sugar can exacerbate any existing inflammation in the prostate gland so this gives further reason to avoid the likes of fizzy juice and energy drinks.
Another one to avoid if you have an enlarged prostate is alcohol. Again, this is inflammatory, though it also dehydrates us, drains our magnesium stores and increases the urge to urinate, all of which will make enlarged prostate symptoms more noticeable.
If youd like to know more about alcohol and an enlarged prostate then take a look at my blog How does alcohol affect an enlarged prostate?.
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International Prostate Symptom Score
You’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire to assess your symptoms. Each question has five possible answers that carry a score, and your overall score is used to assess the severity of your symptoms.
The checklist includes the following questions.
Over the past month:
- How often have you had the sensation of not completely emptying your bladder after urinating?
- How often have you had to urinate again less than two hours after finishing urinating?
- How often have you found that you stopped and started again when urinating?
- How often have you found it difficult to postpone urination?
- How often have you had a weak stream of urine?
- How often have you had to push or strain to begin urinating during the course of one night?
- How often have you had to get up during the night to urinate?
After your GP has assessed the severity your symptoms, they’ll aim to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms using certain tests.
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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.”
Other Points To Consider With Enlarged Prostate
Need for repeat procedures: With minimally invasive procedures for an enlarged prostate, there is a chance you will need to have a repeat procedure later on. Having the procedure when youre young makes that a near certainty. However, that may be a risk youre willing to take to avoid surgery in the short term.
Side effects of treatments: Some BPH treatments cause erection problems, although that risk is low. Men who have normal erections before surgery will not likely have trouble afterward. Some treatments cause retrograde ejaculation . Fertility can also be affected, but is still possible with newer assisted reproductive techniques.
Multiple health problems: If you have other health problems, especially if you are on an anticoagulant and cannot stop taking this medication, your treatment options for enlarged prostate may be affected. For example, if you have had surgery for obstructive sleep apnea or pulmonary surgery in the past, having surgery with general anesthesia may be too risky. However, spinal anesthesia may be an option for you. Or you may wish to have a minimally invasive office procedure that doesnt require anesthesia at all.
Talk to your doctor about your BPH symptom score, your concerns, and about the plan of treatment that works best for you.
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Talking With Your Doctor
Different kinds of doctors and other health care professionals manage prostate health. They can help you find the best care, answer your questions, and address your concerns. These health care professionals include:
- Family doctors and internists
- Physician assistants and nurse practitioners
- Urologists, who are experts in diseases of the urinary tract system and the male reproductive system
- Urologic oncologists, who are experts in treating cancers of the urinary system and the male reproductive system
- Radiation oncologists, who use radiation therapy to treat cancer
- Medical oncologists, who treat cancer with medications such as hormone treatments and chemotherapy
- Pathologists, who identify diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope
View these professionals as your partnersâexpert advisors and helpers in your health care. Talking openly with your doctors can help you learn more about your prostate changes and the tests to expect.
What Are The Symptoms Of Enlarged Prostate
When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can block the urethra and impair bladder function. Symptoms that may indicate this is happening include:
- Urinating many times a day and being unable to hold off urination
- Problems starting a urine stream or a weak or interrupted stream, followed by dribbling at the end
- Waking at night to urinate and accidental loss of urine
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High Levels Of Dht And Testosterone
Enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition that commonly affects men as they get older. High levels of testosterone and DHT cause cells in the prostate gland to multiply, eventually creating an enlargement that puts pressure on the urethra, which is the tube that transports urine and semen out of the body. Continued pressure narrows the urethra, which forces the bladder to contract more intensely to push urine through the urethra and out of the body. Over time, this can cause the bladder muscle get stronger and thicker. While that sounds good, that also makes your bladder much more sensitive, meaning it may contract even if its not filled with much liquid. Eventually, the bladder may have trouble fighting back against the effects of such a narrow urethra, resulting in urine staying in the bladder.4
Additional Types Of Therapy For Prostate Cancer
A few other treatments exist for advanced prostate cancer or prostate cancer that has stopped responding well to other forms of hormone therapy. They are usually taken with one of the therapies discussed above.
Chemotherapy. For cases of very aggressive prostate cancer, or when hormone therapy isnât effective, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy. This class of anti-cancer drug, taken by mouth or injected, fights cancers that have spread beyond the prostate to other parts of your body. The schedule of your treatment will depend on the specific drugs you require, but chemotherapy is typically given in cycles that last two to three weeks. Once you finish a cycle, the next cycle begins. The length of your treatment hinges on how well it works and whether you can cope with the side effects. Chemotherapy drugs are used to help you live longer. They rarely cure prostate cancer, according to the ACS, and can cause unpleasant side effects, including hair loss, nausea, and fatigue.
Immunotherapy. This type of treatment harnesses the power of your immune system to fight cancer. While it has been used successfully in several types of cancer, it hasnt proved as effective in prostate canceryet. Researchers are working to discover the best ways to incorporate immune therapy into prostate cancer care, particularly for men whose cancer no longer responds to hormone treatment. In 2019, more than 100 such studies were underway.
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What Is An Alternative To Flomax
Flomax is not the only drug that can be used to treat an enlarged prostate. Patients diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia need to ensure they are educated about all their options. In some cases, an alternative drug may yield better results. The risk of side-effects may also be reduced in some cases.
It is always important to consider the safety profile of the preferred drug. The safety profile is unique to the specific patient.
Some alternatives are more popular than others. It is essential that the individual considers all of the alternative options that are available to them. We take a closer look at some options that men should consider. This is important if the risk of taking Flomax is too great.
How Are Prostate Cancer Stages Determined
Once all testing has been completed, your doctor will tell you the stage of your cancer, or how much it has progressed and whether it has spread beyond your prostate. The stage will help your medical team decide which treatment is best for you. The higher the stage, the more advanced your cancer. The most common way to stage prostate cancer is the TNM system, developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer, which hinges on three important factors:
T : How much of your prostate the tumor affects
N : Whether the cancer has spread beyond your prostate to nearby lymph nodes
M : Whether your cancer has metastasized, or spread far beyond your prostate to your bones, to nearby organs such as your bladder or rectum, or to more distant organs like your lungs, liver, or brain.
The TNM system also includes your PSA level and your Grade Group, based on your Gleason score. With your stage designated, which is labeled in a range of T1 to T4 , a treatment plan can be developed.
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Nonsurgical Enlarged Prostate Treatment Through Pae
If you have been struggling with the symptoms of BPH or have recently received a diagnosis for the disease, then the experts at IVC are here to help. Our interventional radiologists offer prostate artery embolization to help adult men overcome their urinary and prostate issues without resorting to painful surgeries. PAE is minimally invasive, requiring only a small incision in the groin or upper thigh. The entire operation is completed under local anesthesia with sedation, ensuring you remain comfortable and experience no pain throughout the procedure.
During PAE, one of our interventional radiologists passes a catheter through the incision and up the groin, guiding it towards the prostate under x-ray image-guidance. After performing an arteriogram to highlight and distinguish the arteries that feed into the prostate, your interventional radiologist will then embolize, or block up, the feeder arteries using tiny microsphere particles. With the arteries embolized its blood flow restricted, the prostate will gradually shrink over time until it no longer places pressure on the bladder or the urethra.
Risk Factors You Can Control
Diet seems to play a role in the development of prostate cancer, which is much more common in countries where meat and high-fat dairy are mainstays. The reason for this link is unclear. Dietary fat, particularly animal fat from red meat, may boost male hormone levels. And this may fuel the growth of cancerous prostate cells. A diet too low in fruits and vegetables may also play a role.
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Improving An Enlarged Prostate And Its Symptoms
There are some lifestyle changes men can make which will help to reduce symptoms of BPH. Losing weight, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly, and limiting spicy foods can help to improve your symptoms.
In addition to lifestyle changes, your physician may decide to do active surveillance and carefully monitor your symptoms.
There are prescription medications for reducing symptoms, and if that is unsuccessful, your physician may recommend less invasive surgery.
Dont let an enlarged prostate become a serious medical condition. Contact Cleveland Urology Associates at , or request an appointment online, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
A New Treatment Option For Bph
Experts at University Hospitals now offer a new, minimally invasive approach to treat BPH called UroLift®.
Instead of removing prostate tissue, this procedure implants a device that pulls the prostate away from the urethra on both sides and holds it in place. This widens the urethra and restores normal urine flow.
Its like opening a curtain, says UH urologist Irina Jaeger, MD.
This procedure is a nice alternative, because the side effects are very minimal, it can be done in the doctors office in 15 minutes or less and very little sedation is required, she says. And the results are pretty instant.
UroLift®has been in use for six years. Studies have shown that the procedure is safe, effectively relieves symptoms and does not affect sexual function.
The only side effects are a little irritation immediately after the procedure. Patients are typically back to their normal routines within a day or two.
For more information about UroLift® and other treatments for BPH, or to schedule a consultation with a mens health expert, call or visit our website.
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Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
- Frequent urge to pass urine, especially at night
- Weak or interrupted urine stream
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
Prostate cancer can spread to the lymph nodes of the pelvis. Or it may spread throughout the body. It tends to spread to the bones. So bone pain, especially in the back, can be a symptom of advanced prostate cancer.
Understanding Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
An enlarged prostate is not an uncommon condition since the prostate continues to grow throughout life for most men starting around age 25. Experts are unsure what exactly leads to BPH, but aging and testosterone are known to be two key factors in its development. Those at a higher risk of developing BPH include:
- Men over the age of 50
- Men of European descent
- African American men
- Those with a family history of prostate issues
Living a healthy lifestyle consisting of a well-rounded diet and a regular exercise routine will lower your chances of developing BPH, but nothing is known to prevent it completely. Despite the myths surrounding BPH, it is not a cancerous condition and does not necessarily lead to cancer. However, some prostate issues can be a sign of prostate cancer and a diagnosis should be sought out at the onset of any symptoms.
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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.