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 Stump, 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 coping strategies.”
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 urination.
- 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 Stump of Catawba Valley Family Medicine – North Hickory, located at 212 29th Ave. NE Suite 1, call 828.326.0658.