Enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is commonly observed in elderly males aged between 50-60 years. In some cases, symptoms of enlarged prostate are minor and can be managed easily while these can be bothersome for many.
Reports from the American Urological Association (AUA) indicate that 50% of men 50-60 years of age suffer from enlarged prostate and the number rises steeply (about 90%) in males above 75 years of age.
Doctors clearly assign enlarged prostate as a natural outcome of aging. In a vast majority of cases, enlarged prostate is benign in nature and it does not pose any risk of prostate cancer.
Reasons for Enlargement of Prostate Gland
Prostate gland is a walnut shaped gland present only in males and constitutes the male reproductive system. This gland lying behind the urinary bladder surrounding the urethra produces a fluid that mixes with the semen facilitating ejaculation during sexual intercourse.
With aging, the prostate gland increases in size creating lots of problems. The reasons for enlarged prostate are not yet clear, but Mayoclinic.com assigns imbalance of sex hormones as a prime factor.
Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate
Symptoms of enlarged prostate may not be prominent in every aged male, but in some cases these may seriously affect the quality of life. Enlarged prostate can be often diagnosed by the following symptoms.
Men suffering from enlarged prostate have to make frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the day especially at night. The enlarged prostate exerts excessive pressure on the urinary bladder creating urgency to urinate even if the bladder contains very little amount of urine.
Inability to Empty the Urinary Bladder
This is another common symptom of enlarged prostate when men experience difficulty to initiate urination or to stop it. The enlarged gland hampers the normal functioning of the bladder and the urge to urinate persists even after urination.
Inability to empty the urinary bladder may also cause urine leakage creating embarrassing situations.
Inconsistent Urinary Stream
Some men may experience inconsistency in the stream of urine while urinating. The enlarged prostate exerts pressure on the urethra (a duct through which urine is discharged) impeding the normal flow of urine. The urine flow may vary during urination causing urine retention in the bladder. This urine retention causes frequent urge to urinate.
Problems in the Urinary Tract and Kidneys
Enlarged prostate may also cause infections in the urinary tract. The pressure exerted by the enlarged prostate gland may cause a back flow of urine to the kidneys creating situations for infection and other problems. Consequently, there may be a pain during urination along with hematuria (blood in urine).
Possible Complications Due to Enlarged Prostate
Enlarged prostate requires medical attention if the symptoms are bothering enough. Prolonged urinary retention may weaken the urinary bladder making it vulnerable to infections.
Often, one may require a catheter to empty the urinary bladder which is quite painful and bothering. Minerals residing in the bladder for a long time due to urine retention can cause bladder stones. Acute symptoms of enlarged prostate create higher chances of kidney infection.
Managing Enlarged Prostate Symptoms
There is no need to lose heart if you suffer from enlarged prostate as it can be managed well through a number of treatments available now-a -days. Self care and lifestyle modifications help in controlling the enlarged prostate symptoms considerably. Reduce fluid intake at night to prevent nocturia.
Cut down the intake of caffeinated beverages as caffeine acts as a diuretic. If you take diuretic medicines, try to take them at daytime. Do not hold back the urge for urination.
Kegel exercises can be quite helpful in managing enlarged prostate symptoms. Last but not least, stop worrying and off load your mental stress as these factors may trigger the symptoms of enlarged prostate.