As
you get older, body changes occur in ways you cannot control. For most men, one
of the changes is that the prostrate gets bigger. This is a natural part of
aging but at some point can lead to a condition known as BPH.

BPH
stands for benign prostatic hyperplasia also termed an enlarged prostrate. It
is a progressive non-cancerous enlargement of the prostrate and one of the most
common diseases in aging men. It can cause bothersome lower urinary tract
symptoms that affect quality of life by interfering with normal daily activities
and sleep patterns.

Let
us have a quick understanding of what the prostrate is before examining the
causes of an enlarged prostrate. The prostrate is a walnut-sized gland located
between the bladder and the penis. It secretes some fluid that nourishes and
protect sperm. During ejaculation, the prostrate squeezes this fluid into your urethra
and it’s expelled with sperm as semen.

What
causes BPH?

The
exact cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia is unknown but it has been linked
with changes of male sex hormones as they get older. Having a family history of
prostrate disorder or testes abnormality may pose a risk of developing this
condition as well. Being overweight can also leave you susceptible to an
enlarged prostrate & engaging in routine exercise will help lower your risk.

How
do I know if I have an enlarged prostrate?

You
may experience mild symptoms at first when you have an enlarged prostrate but
they become more serious and complicated when the condition is left untreated.
Common symptoms include

  • Incontinence
    or leakage of urine
  • A
    feeling that you must urinate right away
  • Need
    to urinate two or more times per night
  • Incomplete
    emptying of the bladder
  • Tendency
    to dribble after urine
  • Feeling
    of strain when urinating
  • A
    weak stream
  • Blood
    in the urine
  • Painful
    urination

It
is advisable to see a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms as they are
treatable and complications can be prevented.

Changes
in lifestyle that help cope with symptoms

Certain
activities can help you relieve the symptoms associated with an enlarged
prostrate. Such activities are;

Keep warm: colder temperatures
can cause urine retention and increase the urgency to urinate.

Limit beverages in the evening: Don’t drink anything for an hour or two
before bedtime to avoid middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet. Also avoid
drinking a lot of fluid at once

Limit caffeine and alcohol: They can increase urine production, irritate
the bladder and worsen symptoms.

Go when you first feel the urge: Waiting too long might overstretch the bladder
muscle and cause damage. It is advisable to also urinate as soon as you feel
the urge instead of waiting; you can also try and urinate even when you don’t
feel the urge.

Follow a healthy diet: This will reduce the
risk of being obese. Obesity is associated
with enlarged prostate.

Stay active: Inactivity contributes to urine retention.
Even a small amount of exercise can help reduce urinary problems caused by an
enlarged prostate. Example of such is pelvic strengthening (kegel) exercise.