Enlarged Prostate Symptoms

Enlarged Prostate is a condition found in men, in which their prostate gland grows, leading to narrowing of urethra, a tube which transports urine to the penis from the bladder, and causing problems in passing of urine. It is one of the common problems faced by men above 60 years of age.

It is also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) in medical terms.

Initially, when the prostate gland becomes bigger, the muscle of the bladder becomes thick, powerfully pushing out urine through a narrow urethra. The bladder muscle, however, becomes sensitive, and the urine may come frequently and suddenly as the bladder is not able to empty itself fully due to squeezing of urethra.

Blockage of urethra due to enlarged prostate may lead to frequent urinary tract infections and even result in kidney or bladder damage. Due to Enlarged Prostate, the affected person may also suffer from Acute Urinary Retention, a condition in which the accused is unable to urinate.

Causes of Enlarged Prostate:

An increase in the number of cells may lead to the growth of the prostate gland, which is as small as a walnut. Though the exact reason for the sudden increase in the cells is not known, androgens (male hormones), growth factors and estrogens may be some of the factors which lead to increase in number of cells (Hyperplasia).

Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate:

Some of the symptoms of the Enlarged Prostate are more frequent urination, blood in urine, a weak stream of urine, leaking of urine and dribbling of urine, especially after urination. The patient of Enlarged Prostate may face difficulty in starting urination and may feel the strong urge to urinate, especially at night. He may also feel that his bladder is not empty.

Exams and Tests

As a preventive measure, all men above 50 years of age should get their prostate checked by their physician every year whether they have the symptoms of Enlarged Prostate or not. The digital rectal exam is conducted by the doctor by inserting a finger into the rectum to know about the size and the presence of lumps, if any, and to know whether the patient has prostate cancer.
The doctor may also conduct analysis of your urine to check for any signs of infection. He may also conduct blood test to check the level of prostate-specific antigen, which will indicate whether the patient has prostate cancer, and another test to check for any kidney problems.

Treatment of Enlarged Prostate

After the prostate enlargement is diagnosed, the doctor will recommend the treatment depending on the severity of the symptoms of the patient. If the symptoms are mild, he may not suggest any immediate treatment. For moderate symptoms, he might recommend medications while for severe symptoms, he may recommend both surgery and medications.

  1. Medications: There are two types of medications –Alpha-blockers and Finasteride – which are used to treat Prostate Enlargement. Alpha-blockers relieve symptoms by relaxing the muscles in the prostate. Finasteride helps in improvement of urinary symptoms by shrinking the prostate. Finasteride medicines work better with men who have moderate symptoms of prostate enlargement.
  2. Surgery: Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) is the most common surgery performed to treat Prostate Enlargement. In this surgery, a small instrument is used to scrape away the innermost portion of the prostate. The surgery helps in easing off the pressure on the urethra, relieving the symptoms.

Transurethral incision of the Prostate (TUIP) is also conducted in which small cuts are made in the prostate with the help of an instrument which is passed through urethra. Some new treatments – Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT), Transurethral Needle Ablation of the Prostate (TUNA) and Interstitial Laser Coagulation – are also performed in which some portions of the prostate tissues are killed by heating the tissues. As a result, the prostate shrinks, relaxing the symptoms and removing the obstruction.

Photovaporization of the Prostate (PVP) is another popular treatment in which innermost portion of the prostate is removed with the help of laser. The main advantage of the PVP surgery is that it immediately removes the tissues, leading to early relaxation of symptoms.

Prevention of Enlarged Prostate:

Enlarged Prostate is a part of the aging process; so, it cannot be prevented. However, it is advisable to avoid drinking any liquid after 1800 hrs so that the patient does not urinate frequently at nights. Drinking at least eight glasses of water every day may help in preventing the infection. However, men, who urinate quite frequently, should drink water or other fluids depending on their thirst only.

Enlarged Prostate is a part of the aging process but can be treated if diagnosed at the right time.