Signs Your Prostate May Be Enlarged
Age changes everything hair thins and grays, skin dries and wrinkles, and gravity does a number on once-firm flesh. But changes happen on the inside, too, and you may not realize it until you experience clear symptoms. In many men, one of these changes is a growing prostate gland.
Although an enlarged prostate doesnt necessarily mean cancer, it can mean youll suffer from some pretty uncomfortable symptoms until you get it treated.
Dr. James Lee at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia, specializes in mens health issues and can diagnose and treat your enlarged prostate to relieve your symptoms. Heres what you need to know.
What Are The Symptoms And Signs
The location of the prostate gland is fairly low in the pelvic region, below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum. It lies in very close proximity to the urethra. The urethra is the tube that conveys urine from the bladder to the external environment. When the prostate gland swells, it tends to exert pressure on the urinary bladder as well as the urethra. Initially, there may be no significant disturbance. Eventually, however, the individual will notice certain changes in patterns of urination. The following symptoms are common manifestations of enlargement of the prostate gland:
- The individual may find it difficult to initiate urination and may need to strain to force urine out.
- There may be a reduced flow of urine.
- The urine stream may pause intermittently.
- Frequent urge to urinate, particularly at night.
- The bladder is not voided completely upon urination.
- Sudden, unexpected urges to urinate.
- Urinary incontinence.
- Exercise. When this is the cause, hematuria will usually go away in 24 hours.
Possible Cancer Protection From Prostate Drugs
Early research suggested that 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors , a class of drugs used to treat prostate enlargement, might increase the risk of developing more aggressive prostate cancer. However, newer studies have found that not only do the drugs appear to pose no extra risk, they may even protect against prostate cancer.
For instance, research from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial study in 2013 showed that taking the 5-ARI finasteride for seven years could lower the chance of getting low-grade prostate cancer by 25% among men ages 55 and older. A follow-up study of almost 9,500 men, published in the Nov. 1, 2018, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also showed that finasteride lowered the risk by a similar amount , and found the protective effect lasted for at least 16 years.
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What Are The Complications Associated With Hematuria
Some of the causes of blood in the urine are serious, so you should contact your healthcare provider if you notice this symptom.
If the symptom is due to cancer, ignoring it can lead to an advancement of the tumors to the point that treatment is difficult. Untreated infections can ultimately lead to kidney failure.
Treatment can help reduce symptoms if the cause of hematuria is an enlarged prostate. Ignoring it may lead to discomfort from needing to urinate frequently, severe pain, and even cancer.
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- The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ that produces fluids to feed and protect sperm cells.
- Many men experience urinary changes as they age. In many cases, these changes do not need specific treatment.
- When urinary changes cause problems, they can be treated successfully by lifestyle changes, medication, surgery or a combination of the three.
- For problems such as blood in the urine, pain on urination, inability to urinate or uncontrollable urine flow, see your doctor promptly.
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Diagnosis Of Enlarged Prostate Gland And Urinary Problems
If you are troubled by urination problems, see a doctor no matter what your age. If your doctor agrees that your symptoms need further evaluation and treatment, you may need to undergo a few tests.These may include:
- general examination medical history and review of any health conditions including obesity, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, depression and erectile dysfunction. A rectal examination may be done to check the size and shape of your prostate gland
- a urine check to ensure the prostate is not infected
- a flow-rate check to estimate the speed with which you pass urine
- an ultrasound examination to assess if the bladder is emptying completely and to examine your kidneys
- urodynamics a series of tests on the bladder to see how your urinary system is functioning may be recommended in some circumstances.
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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What An Enlarged Prostate Gland Feels Like
The symptoms that come with an enlarged prostate vary from man to man, but they usually start out mild and get worse over time. Here are a few of the signs you might notice.
- An urgent need to urinate
- Frequent need to urinate
- The need to urinate frequently through the night
- A weak urine stream
- Urination that starts and stops
- Trouble starting to urinate
- Trouble emptying your bladder completely
While these are the most common signs of BPH and are more annoying than medically problematic, a few symptoms require immediate attention, including the inability to urinate and blood in your urine.
How Will My Veterinarian Get These Samples
A free-flow urine sample iscollected . Samples of prostatic fluid are obtained by passing a urethral catheter to the level of the prostate and massaging the prostate to milk fluid out of it.
Samples of prostatic cells are obtained by fine needle aspiration or biopsy. If the prostate is greatly enlarged, it may be sampled by through the body wall by FNA or biopsied. FNA involves taking a small needle with a syringe and suctioning a sample of cells directly from the prostate and placing them on a microscope slide. A veterinary pathologist then examines the slide under a microscope. In some cases, results from FNA may not be entirely clear and biopsy may be necessary.
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How Is Benign Prostate Enlargement Diagnosed
If your GP suspects that you have an enlarged prostate, 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 indicates the severity of your symptoms.
Your GP will also want to rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms to prostate enlargement.
You may have a number of standard tests, such as urine tests, plus some more specific tests, such as a blood test that measures PSA.
A Frequent Urge To Urinate Is Totally Normal In Men Over 50 But When Does The Inconvenience Signal Something More Serious We Have The Answers
When was the last time you slept through the night without getting up to urinate? If youre a man over the age of 50, it may have been a while. As you age, nighttime trips to the toilet often become frequent. Half of men in their 70s will have to get out of bed 2 or more times each night, according to estimates from Harvard.
Thats more than a mild annoyance. Missed sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness, or worse. Poor sleep has been tied to accidents and chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. So, whats behind all that nighttime urination? And what can you do about it?
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What Are The Treatments For An Enlarged Prostate
Home treatment won’t stop your prostate from getting larger. But it can help your symptoms. Try these home treatment tips:
- Practice “double voiding.” Urinate as much as you can. Then relax for a few moments and try to go again.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. They make your body try to get rid of water and can make you urinate more often.
- Try to avoid medicines that can make it hard to urinate. These include over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants , and allergy pills. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about your medicines.
If home treatment doesn’t help, you can take medicine for an enlarged prostate. Medicine can reduce the symptoms, but it rarely gets rid of them. If you stop taking medicine, symptoms return.
If your symptoms are very bad, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove part of your prostate. Few men have symptoms or other problems that are this bad.
The most common surgery is TURP . A thin tool is inserted up the urethra to remove the section of prostate tissue that is blocking urine flow.
Other types of surgery include:
- Plasma vaporization , which removes prostate tissue.
- Laser therapies, which remove a portion of the prostate.
- Transurethral incision of the prostate . During this procedure, incisions are made in the prostate to reduce pressure on the urethra.
There are also some other surgeries. Talk to your doctor about these options.
What Are The Symptoms Of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia may include
- urinary frequencyurination eight or more times a day
- urinary urgencythe inability to delay urination
- trouble starting a urine stream
- a weak or an interrupted urine stream
- dribbling at the end of urination
- nocturiafrequent urination during periods of sleep
- urinary incontinencethe accidental loss of urine
- pain after ejaculation or during urination
- urine that has an unusual color or smell
Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia most often come from
- a blocked urethra
- a bladder that is overworked from trying to pass urine through the blockage
The size of the prostate does not always determine the severity of the blockage or symptoms. Some men with greatly enlarged prostates have little blockage and few symptoms, while other men who have minimally enlarged prostates have greater blockage and more symptoms. Less than half of all men with benign prostatic hyperplasia have lower urinary tract symptoms.3
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Do Prostate Problems Cause Other Problems
Yes, a prostate problem may cause other problems, such as
- problems having sex
- feeling stressed due to chronic pain
- inflammation in areas near your prostate
- bladder stones
- kidney failure
Which problem you may get depends on the type of prostate problem you have. Other problems may vary from man to man for each type of prostate problem.
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Other Tests May Include:
Cystoscopy. This is a procedure a urologist performs to see inside the bladder and urethra . The doctor uses a thin tube with a camera and light on the endâcalled a cystoscopeâto look for cancer cells or other problems.Kidney imaging tests. The doctor may order an imaging test such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI to look for a tumor, a kidney or bladder stone, an enlarged prostate or other problem.
Your doctor may order one more urine test to look for signs of infection, kidney disease and cancer. You may have a blood test to check for high levels of the protein creatinine, a sign of kidney disease.
In many cases, the doctor is not able to find out why there is blood in the urine, Dr. Smith notes. He or she may decide to retest your urine in a year. If blood is found, you may undergo more tests. Or you may be retested several years later.
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Treatment Options For Bph
BPH is treated with medications that shrink the prostate and reduce urinary symptoms.
Drugs called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors block conversion of testosterone to a substance that contributes to the benign prostate growth, called dihydrotestosterone . These drugs include dutasteride and finasteride .
Your doctor may prescribe one of these drugs or a combination of them.
If medications dont help or your symptoms are severe, your urologist may recommend a less invasive procedure to destroy the extra prostate tissue and widen the urethra within the prostate. The procedure may use one of the following:
- heat with radiofrequency ablation
- high-intensity ultrasound waves
- electric current vaporization
Surgery is a longer-term solution. During BPH surgery, the doctor uses a cutting wire loop or laser to cut away the excess prostate tissue.
Foods To Avoid: Sugary Foods
Refined sugar is another no-go for those with prostate problems as this can increase inflammation.
Sugar is abundant in some obvious sources such as fizzy juice and cake, but don’t forget it is also added to processed foods to give them extra flavour. This includes ready meals, crisps, some cereals, white bread and ready-made sauces. You could try cutting down your intake of these things in order to reduce the pressure on your prostate.
They say fresh is best for a reason, so try swapping these processed foods for wholegrain products, fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Not only are these better for the prostate, they are also highly nutritious and healthy too!
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Hematuria: Blood In The Urine
Blood in the urine should never be ignored. This could be the first sign of a serious condition. In order to help your doctor with the correct diagnosis, you may try to provide details such as:
- Was it associated with pain?
- Did you see blood clots?
- What shape did the clots have?
- The color of the blood
- At what time during urination did you see blood in the urine ?
Blood in the urine can present in one of two ways:
- Gross hematuria
Prostatitis And Other Pelvic Problems
The prostate, a small male gland located between the testes and the rectum, can cause a lot of problems, from prostatitis to cancer. Cancer is easy to diagnose but hard to treat prostatitis is elusive because it has such a wide range of symptoms and no known cause. Prostatitis can cause pelvic pain, urologic concerns such as frequent urges to urinate, a weak or interrupted stream, and even blood in the urine. Sexual symptoms may include erectile dysfunction and pain during intercourse. Prostate problems may also cause irritable bowel syndrome , because the irritated prostate may in turn aggravate the nerves that affect the lower digestive tract.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
- The prostate, a small male gland located between the testes and the rectum, can cause a lot of problems, from prostatitis to cancer.
- Prostatitis can cause pelvic pain, urologic concerns such as frequent urges to urinate, a weak or interrupted stream, and even blood in the urine.
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How The Prostate Changes As You Age
Because the prostate gland tends to grow larger with age, it may squeeze the urethra and cause problems in passing urine. Sometimes men in their 30s and 40s may begin to have these urinary symptoms and need medical attention. For others, symptoms arenât noticed until much later in life. An infection or a tumor can also make the prostate larger. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the urinary symptoms listed below.
Tell your doctor if you have these urinary symptoms:
- Are passing urine more during the day
- Have an urgent need to pass urine
- Have less urine flow
- Feel burning when you pass urine
- Need to get up many times during the night to pass urine
Growing older raises your risk of prostate problems. The three most common prostate problems are inflammation , enlarged prostate , and prostate cancer.
One change does not lead to another. For example, having prostatitis or an enlarged prostate does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. It is also possible for you to have more than one condition at the same time.
What Are The Risks And Side Effects Of Surgery
TURP has possible side effects, such as:
- Retrograde ejaculation. This means that semen flows backward into the bladder instead of out through the penis. It isn’t harmful, but it can affect your ability to father children.
- Out of 100 men who have TURP, 25 to 99 have retrograde ejaculation. That means 1 to 75 out of 100 men do not.footnote 1
A few men will need a second operation several years later, because their symptoms return. This can happen for many reasons, such as if:
- The surgery doesn’t remove enough of the prostate.
- The prostate continues to enlarge after surgery.
- Scar tissue from the surgery blocks the urethra.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if:
- You cannot urinate.
- You have a partial blockage in your urethra that is causing repeated urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or bladder damage.
- You have kidney damage.
- You have too many side effects from the medicines.
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