Enlarged Prostate: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Prostate happens to be one of the most irrelevant body parts for men yet has an important role to play in reproductive health. If you have slept all your life peacefully, there are high chances that you may get irritated once you suffer from an enlarged prostate.

Enlarged prostate or BPH is most common in elderly men. This is a non-cancerous condition but may affect your daily schedule if not taken care of properly.[1] If you are noticing that your trips to the bathroom have increased, it may be time to get yourself checked. There is a chance that you may be suffering from an enlarged prostate.

Regular trips to the bathroom isn’t the only sign that you need to look for. Some of the other common signs include leaking or dribbling urine, as well as difficulty in urinating. An enlarged prostate is a common sign of growing old, but it needs to be taken into consideration for the good.

If you have been going to the bathroom a lot during the nights, you might as well start going to ones during the day as well.[2] This annoying behavior can eventually be a routine. Doctors suggest that this problem can get so annoying that you won’t be able to sit in one place for a long time.

An enlarged prostate is also referred to as benign prostate hyperplasia. As per reports by the age of 50, most people begin noticing the signs of an enlarged prostate, which eventually begins to become a problem by the age of 60. However, by 85, almost all men tend to suffer from an enlarged prostate.


What is BPH?

Enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition in which the cells of the prostate gland multiply rapidly. Due to the enlargement of the prostate, the urethra is squeezed into one corner, thereby limiting the flow of urine.

It is necessary to note that BPH is not the same as that of prostate cancer and does not pose any cancerous risk too. But the symptoms of BPH can have a major impact on your lifestyle.[3]

What are the causes?

An enlarged prostate is considered to be a normal condition in the aging male. This may, however, become problematic if the symptoms aren’t taken care of—older men, mostly over the age of 80, exhibits the serious symptoms of an enlarged prostate.[4]

Doctors have determined that the exact cause for enlarged prostate is not known, but it is anticipated that changes in the hormonal cycle during aging may be one of the main reasons for anenlarged prostate.

Apart from age, family history also helps to determine whether or not a person will be suffering from BPH. Any abnormalities in the condition of your testes further help you determine whether you could develop an enlarged prostate. Often younger men undergo testicles removing surgery. Under conditions like these, men have no chances of suffering from an enlarged prostate.

Symptoms of an enlarged prostate

When the prostate grows in size, it narrows the urethra.[5] The diminished size of the urethra further causes a problem in urinating because the bladder is forcefully contracted. The decreased size of the bladder will make it become thick and more sensitive, which will eventually lead to frequent urination.

Because the diminished bladder cannot reach the urethra properly, there is urine stored in it constantly. This eventually forces you to go to the bathroom frequently.

Some of the common symptoms of an enlarged prostate include the following

  • Slow urination
  • The feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
  • Frequent urination
  • Constant urge to urinate
  • Taking trips to the bathroom frequently
  • Dribbling urine
  • Getting up to urinate frequently
  • Straining urine

If your bladder doesn’t become empty, there is a high risk of contracting urinary tract infection. Due to this, several other problems may arise, such as incontinence, inability to urinate, blood in urine, and even bladder infections.

If you have a complete inability to urinate, you must see the doctor as it can call for a medical emergency.[6] Under certain circumstances, if the enlarged prostate is not taken seriously, it can cause serious problems such as kidney failure.

Diagnosis for enlarged prostate

The doctor usually conducts a physical examination to check for an enlarged prostate. The doctor will also check for your medical history to determine the severity of the condition. In physical examination, the doctor may conduct a rectal examination to check the shape and size of your prostate.[7] Some of the other tests that may be conducted include

Urinalysis: The presence of blood and bacteria is checked into the urine.

Prostatic Biopsy: A small tissue is removed from the prostate and tested for abnormalities.

Post-void residual: It checks the amount of urine in the bladder after you have urinated.

Prostate-specific antigen PSA tests: This is a blood test conducted to find out the presence of cancer in the prostate.

Urodynamic Test: In this test, a catheter may be inserted into the bladder to check for pressure upon your bladder while you are urinating.

Intravenous Pyelography or urography: In this test, a CT scan or X-ray test may be conducted after injecting a dye in your body. The dye will help to check the urinary system via a CT scan or X-ray.

Cystoscopy: Under this condition, your urethra will be tested by the insertion of a small tinted scope.

Before conducting any of these tests, the doctor may want to check for your medical history. You may be asked to stop or start a specific medication to prevent any complications from happening owing to the test.

Medicines to Treat Enlarged Prostate

If an enlarged prostate is detected, the doctor may ask you to undergo certain medications to subside the effect.[8] However, surgery may be carried out if the conditions become more prominent.

Every medicine works differently on the patients. Therefore, it is extremely necessary to choose medicine accordingly. The doctors may keep a record of the prescribed medicines to check how the patient responds to the medicine and what its impacts are.[9]

Some of the prominent medicines to treat an enlarged prostate include the following.

  • Alpha-Blockers

Although these medicines do not diminish the size of the prostate, they play an important role in easing the symptoms. They relax the muscles around the prostate, thereby ensuring a proper flow of urine. Alpha-blockers are quick to function, and hence you can expect easing symptoms within 2-3 days.

Some of the prominent alpha-blocker drugs include Flomax (tamsulosin), Hytrin (terazosin), rapaflo (silodosin), Cardura (doxazosin), and more.

Since the main function of these medicines was to treat high blood pressure, they may lead to dizziness. However, men suffering from the frequent urinary infection should avoid using these medicines.

  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors

These medicines contribute to lower the production of male hormone- dihydrotestosterone– which contributes to the enlarged size of the prostate.[10] These drugs do not work as fast as alpha-blockers, but they help to increase urination within three months.

One of the main benefits of using this drug is that there is very little chance of conducting prostate surgery. You need to take these medicines for half or a full year to determine the effectiveness.

An enlarged prostate can naturally be treated, too, by bringing changes in the lifestyle.[11] It is often suggested to take proper care of self and check for the symptoms to ease the impact of an enlarged prostate.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470550/

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[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK481490/

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[11] https://erectiledoctor.com/prostate/diet-exercise-help-prevent-deadly-prostate-cancer