Enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH),
is the most common prostate problem for men ages 45 and older. According to the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), although BPH rarely causes symptoms before age 40, the occurrence and
symptoms increase with age. BPH affects about 50% of men between the ages
of 51 and 60 and up to 90% of men older than 80.
“The prostate is about the size of a walnut,” explains Courtney
Browning, PA-C of
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – North Hickory. “ However, typically as men age their prostate also continues to
grow. When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can start to squeeze down
on the urethra making it difficult to pass urine. It’s this narrowing
of the urethra and the inability to empty the bladder completely that
cause many of the problems associated with BPH.”
What are symptoms* commonly associated with an enlarged prostate/BPH?
- Urinary frequency—urination eight or more times a day
- Urinary urgency—the inability to delay urination
- A weak or an interrupted urine stream
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Nocturia—frequent urination during periods of sleep
- Urinary retention—inability to empty the bladder completely
- Pain after or during urination
- Urine that has an unusual color or smell
“The good news is there are now more reliable and less invasive ways
to treat BPH,” said Courtney. “Honestly, a man with mild BPH
can avoid a surgical procedure by having a watchful eye and using a few
Courtney suggests these four tips for relieving BPH symptoms:
- Watch what you drink and when. Avoid drinking fluids in the evening, especially
beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine to help prevent frequent nighttime
- Learn to relax. Nervousness and tension can also cause some men to urinate
more frequently. Find ways to reduce stress like focusing on and doing
things that bring you joy or try exercising regularly.
- Talk with your healthcare provider. Make sure that any medications you
are prescribed do not effect urination. If they do, see if there’s
an alternative medication you can take.
- Don’t rush. Take the time to completely empty your bladder. BPH can
be frustrating. Try to be a more patient and let nature run it’s
course. This will hopefully reduce the need for additional trips to the restroom.
If the symptoms of BPH worsen, you should talk to your healthcare provider
about next steps for treatment. To make an appointment with Courtney Browning of
Catawba Valley Family Medicine – North Hickory, located at 212 29th Ave. NE Suite 1, call 828.326.0658.