Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is the enlarging of the prostate gland. It is a very common condition for men over 60 and is often seen as simply a natural part of the aging process. While this condition may be a discomfort and can cause many urinary symptoms, it is not usually dangerous. There are treatments that should however be considered for quality of life.
The prostate gland is a small walnut-shaped gland that is beneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The urethra carries urine outside the body however, so as the prostate enlargens it can pinch the urethra. This pressure on the urethra will often weaken the stream and require more effort to void the bladder.
Symptoms from this pressure on the urethra include: a frequent urge to urinate, needing to urinate at night, the inability to easily start urination, dribbling after one attempts to finish urination and a weak, inconsistent stream. Sexual function should not be affected. If symptoms advance, a blockage of the urethra is possible. This would prevent any urine from being expelled and would cause a serious problem with trapped urine.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is not connected to prostate cancer and is not a sign of cancer. Symptoms are often similar between the two conditions though, so it’s important to have a physician examine your prostate if you believe you are showing signs of BPH. The majority of men do experience prostate enlargement as they age, so it is not a cause for alarm if you are diagnosed with the BPH. With medications and certain lifestyle changes, like not drinking too much liquid before bed it is very possible to learn to live with BPH.
For more serious cases, surgery may be necessary. This is not often the case, though. Men with BPH should watch out for blood in urine, fever and chills or more intense pain in the lower abdomen, since those are signs of a more serious blockage. If you are having concerning symptoms you believe may be benign prostatic hyperplasia you should see a urologist at your next convenience to get an exam.
Associated Urologists of North Carolina have offices in Raleigh, Brier Creek, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Wake Forest, Clayton, Dunn, Clinton and are very knowledgeable on how to handle uncomfortable symptoms that occur as the prostate changes with age. It can be frustrating to have to deal with these symptoms, but you may not have to. Call 919-758-8677 today to set up an appointment.