Benign Enlargement of Prostate
Benign Enlargement of Prostate or Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland. The chestnut sized prostate gland is located right next to the urethra, which is a tube responsible for carrying urine from the bladder out of the body. When the gland becomes bigger it squeezes the urethra, thus blocking the passage.If gone untreated it starts creating problems with urination.
BPH is one of the most common medical conditionsfound among older men. In fact, statistics reveal that more than half of the men experience at least some symptoms of BPH past the age of 75. However, despite of the vast prevalence of BPH it troubles very few people since it rarely imposes a serious threat.
Most common symptoms of BPH include-
- Painful urination
- Blood in urine
- Need to strain while urinating
- Slow urination
- Pus in urine
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
The precise causes behind the development of BPH are unfortunately unknown. The condition is so common that it is considered as a normal process of aging, with 90% of men experiencing BPH by the age of 90. Some researchers and medical professionals believe that the occurrence of BPH has something to do with the hormonal changes in men as they age. Also, a family history of problems related to prostate gland, or abnormalities in one’s testicles may increase the chances of developing BPH.
Age predominates among all risk factors. Young men, who are aged less than 40 get rarely put up against BPH. On the other hand by the age 60 about a third of men have experienced the symptoms, and by the age 80 almost half.
Ethnicity is also another major risk factor. It is seen than Asian men are less prone to BPH in comparison to white and black men.
In some men diabetes and other heart-relateddiseases may also trigger the development of BPH.
Men with a family history involving prostate related health conditions are more likely to develop BPH in comparison to other men.
Kidney Damage: Pressure developed in the bladder from BPH can damage the kidneys directly. Also, if an infection has developed in the bladder then it may reach the kidneys and damage it greatly.
Stones in the Bladder: Due to the partial emptying of bladder stones may form which can cause intense pain. These stones can also give rise to infections, irritation, and blood in urine.
Bladder Damage: Since BPH doesn’t allow the full emptying of the bladder, the muscles may weaken over time and damage the bladder permanently.
Diagnosis of BPH starts with the doctor asking the patient about the symptoms and then proceeding towards a physical examination. This examination generally includes-
Urine Test:This test is done to rule out an infection that might be causing similar symptoms as of BPH.
Blood Test: A sample of blood can be analyzed to see if there are any kidney related problems.
Digital Rectal Exam: By inserting a finger into the rectum the doctor can physically check for an enlarged prostate gland.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test: The PSA test is a vital test used for the diagnosis of BPH. PSA is a substance found in the Prostate, and is increased in quantity when the gland becomes enlarged. Hence, by checking if the levels are increased one can be correctly diagnosed with BPH.
There are different kinds of treatments available for BPH. These are in the form of medications, invasive therapies, and even surgery. A doctor may recommend a particular treatment by considering certain factors which include- health state, age, severity of condition, degree of discomfort and pain experienced by the patient.
Most common medications given to the patient include alpha blockers, which help in the relaxation of the bladder muscles thereby allowing easy flow of urine; 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which shrink the prostate by regulating the hormones that increase its size; and combinational drug therapies.
A doctor might even recommend surgery if the symptoms are severe, or if there is a need for a definitive treatment, or in case medication has failed to provide relief. However, if the patient suffers from a urethral disease, or has a particular neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s, or has a history of a urinary tract surgery then an invasive therapy can’t be approached.
Unfortunately there are no scientifically known ways of preventing the occurrence of BPH. While some people believe that frequent ejaculation helps in the prevention of BPH there are no official records available to prove the same.
By following a healthy diet plan however, one may reduce the occurrence of BPH to some extent. This is because obesity is a risk factor and a balanced diet can avoid it.