BPH can cause pain, sleep deprivation from frequent nighttime urinations, and an on-going feeling of urgency to pass urine. The symptoms have been known to create significant anxiety and bother to men who suffer from BPH. Once your doctor has confirmed that you are not suffering from prostate cancer, you can decide on whether or not to treat BPH. If symptoms are not overly bothersome, some men may decide against treatment, for others with more bothersome symptoms, effective treatments are available and worth considering for your general well-being.
When deciding upon treatment, men need to be fully informed about the different risks and benefits associated with the different options. Prostate related problems are a significant part of men’s health and well-being. Although prostate related problems can have a profound impact on your quality of life, current treatments mean there is no need to suffer in silence.
What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
For those with BPH, the enlarged prostate squeezes the urethra (the tube where urine exits the bladder) tighter than normal, like a clamp around a hose, and begins to block the flow of urine from the bladder. When this occurs, the bladder becomes thicker and stronger, and must work harder to push the urine past the obstruction. The urethra may eventually become so narrow that the bladder is unable to empty completely, allowing urine to remain in the bladder. At this stage the bladder will fill up again that much sooner, causing more frequent urination. When this problems worsens, it is sometimes known as “prostatism” or lower urinary tract symptoms “LUTS”. Someone suffering from this problem will notice:
- a weak, hesitant urine stream
- a need to strain when urinating
- a sense that the bladder is not empty
- dribbling or leaking after urination
- an inability to completely empty the bladder
- frequent urination, including several times during the night
Occasionally, an enlarged prostate may bleed a little bit into the urine. This is known as “hematuria” and is usually painless. It happens because small, fragile blood vessels on the surface of the prostate stretch and rupture, usually due to the pressure caused when urinating or having a bowel movement. Sometimes a blood vessel may break as the result of heaving lifting or crouching. In most cases the amount of blood is so small that it can only be seen under a microscope. It is rare for anyone to lose a significant amount of blood from a small vessel on the prostate gland.
Enlarged prostates are not the only condition that may causes blood to be present in the urine. Other more serious conditions such as bladder or kidney cancer commonly cause bleeding. Any man who sees blood in his urine should see his doctor immediately and ask to be referred to a urologist to rule out more serious possibilities before assuming that “it’s nothing” or “it’s just my prostate”.
What causes Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
- you are over the age of 45
- you are still producing testosterone
- it runs in your family
- you are obese
What are the symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
The doctor may also check the amount of urine left in the bladder after urinating by using an ultrasound bladder scanner or a catheter. In some cases a flow measurement or even urodynamics may be required to properly diagnose BPH.
If there is concern about kidney function or abnormalities in the urine, an ultrasound of the kidneys and/or a cystocopic examination of the bladder may be required to rule out more serious problem.
How is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) treated?
There are a number of treatment options depending on the degree of discomfort and bother associated with BPH, lifestyle factors, and complications from the enlarged prostate or the blockage of urine. Treatment options include the following:
- no treatment or watchful waiting