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.