Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is very common in men over the age of sixty (around one in two have BPH). In males over the age to 85, it is estimated that more than 95% will experience BPH. So what are enlarged prostate causes? Is there any way to avoid it from occurring? Read on to find answers to these questions.
What Causes Enlarged Prostate?
The prostate is a gland that resides below the bladder. It is on the way that the tube transfers urine from the bladder to the penis, thus when the prostate enlarges, one's ability to pass urine easily may be hindered.
For most men, the prostate will continue to naturally grow throughout their lives, eventually causing urinary problems in the latter stages.
Exact enlarged prostate causes haven't yet been determined by scientists and medical professionals. That being said, there are certain risk factors that increase an individual's likelihood of experiencing an enlarged prostate. These include:
- Age. Men younger than the age of forty rarely show any signs or symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. The condition is fare more prevalent in older individuals over the age of 60, becoming evermore prevalent as one ages further.
- Genetics. If a close relative (such as your farther) has or had problems to the prostate, then you may be more likely to have similar issues.
- Ethnicity. An enlarged prostate is more common in black and white men than it is in yellow men. It is also thought that black men may experience symptoms pertaining to BPH younger than white men.
- Lifestyle. Ensuring to exercise can lower the risk of developing an enlarged prostate, whereas being overweight can increase the possibility of it occurring.
- Medical conditions. Some research suggests a correlation between diabetes, as well as the use of beta blockers in the treatment of heart disease, with the increased risk of developing BPH.
What Are Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate?
Along with understanding enlarged prostate causes, knowing the symptoms of the condition can also help in regards to the treatment and management. By spotting the symptoms, you can begin to take steps to combat the condition.
Common symptoms include:
- Weakened urinary stream
- Trouble beginning urination
- Urinary dribbling (commonly after urinating)
- A feeling as though your bladder is never empty
- Urine leaking
- Increased urination
- Strong and sudden urge to urinate
- Blood present within urine
When to See a Doctor
If you experience symptoms like fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, blood within urine, and/or lower back pain, you should seek medical attention immediately. If your doctor is unavailable, then do not hesitate to visit the emergency department within the nearest hospital. You should also visit the closest health care professional possible if you are unable to urinate (acute urinary retention).
It is recommended that men over the age of fifty should undergo annual prostate checks regularly, even if no symptoms relating to prostate conditions are present.
How to Deal With Enlarged Prostate
Even if you are aware of enlarged prostate causes and make a conscious effort to avoid BPH from occurring, you may still be affected by it. Fortunately, most mild cases of enlarged prostate resolve themselves and no treatment is needed. That being said, if the condition worsens, treatment may be suggested.
1. Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes, such as limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume, avoiding antihistamine and decongestant medications, getting regular exercise, and limiting fluid intake, can help to treat enlarged prostate. One should also go to the bathroom whenever they have the urge to urinate (if possible), and try a method known as double voiding, in which you empty your bladder, wait for a moment, and then try to urinate again. One may also benefit from practicing stress management and relaxation techniques.
You can learn more natural ways to deal with enlarged prostate from the video below:
- Alpha blockers, drugs used in treatment of high blood pressure, can be beneficial in easing the blocked urination by an enlarged prostate. This is because they work to relax the muscles within the prostate and the bladder, which allows the urine to flow through more easily. Examples of this medication include alfuzosin, doxazosin, tamsulosin, and terazosin, all of which are approved to treat BPH.
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and drugs work to lower the production of the DHT hormone, which, therefore, leads to a halt in prostate growth, or even cause the prostate to shrink. Known side effects of these medications include reduced libido and erectile dysfunction. It may also take a vast amount of time (sometimes a year) before seeing any effects. Examples include finasteride and dutaseride.
- In many instance, using a combination of abovementioned medications is the most effective treatment. Using medication to slow or reverse prostate growth, alongside medication that works to relax the muscles in and around the prostate and bladder, will be more effective than simply taking either medication on its own.
3. Less Invasive Procedures
If medication has had no effect on your condition, a medical procedure may be carried out to remove excess tissue from the prostate. This can be done via surgery, of by less invasive procedures such as:
- Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA), also called radiofrequency ablation
- Transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT)
- Laser treatments
- Stenting of the urethrae
These procedures can usually be carried out within less than an hour.
If the treatment methods above have little effect on the condition, surgery may be required. The most common surgery administered for this purpose is called a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), wherein a small medical instrument is inserted into the urethra via the penis, to remove excess prostate tissue.