Prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common problem for men as they age. It occurs when the prostate gland grows larger, squeezing the urethra and making it difficult to urinate. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available to help reduce the size of the prostate and alleviate symptoms. In this article, we'll discuss the causes of prostate enlargement, the different treatments available, and how to manage symptoms. The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and its function is to add fluid to sperm before ejaculation.
As men age, the prostate can grow larger due to hormonal changes. This growth can cause the prostate to press against the urethra, making it difficult to urinate. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include difficulty starting or stopping urination, a weak or slow urine stream, frequent urination, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. If you have an enlarged prostate, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes such as reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeine, avoiding over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines, and drinking more water.
These changes can help reduce symptoms. If lifestyle changes don't improve symptoms, your doctor may suggest medications such as alpha blockers or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. These medications relax the bladder, neck muscles, and prostate muscle fibers, making it easier to urinate. In addition to medications, some people may find relief from natural remedies such as saw palmetto or nettle root.
Saw palmetto is a supplement that is believed to improve some symptoms of BPH. Studies have found that it can reduce urinary frequency and urgency when used in combination with conventional medical treatment. Nettle root is also believed to improve some symptoms of BPH and is commonly used in Europe. The side effects of nettle are usually mild, such as stomach discomfort and skin rash. If lifestyle changes and medications don't work, surgery may be an option.
Surgery can remove excess prostate tissue and improve urinary flow. However, surgery isn't always an option; you may not be fit or well enough for surgery or you may not like the idea of having it. If surgery isn't right for you, your doctor or nurse may suggest that you use a catheter. This is a thin, flexible tube used to drain urine from the bladder. Prostate enlargement isn't usually serious but it can have a serious impact on your lifestyle.
Work with your doctor to find the treatment that works best for you. If you've been treating your symptoms for two months and don't find any relief or if you have more severe symptoms such as not urinating at all or fever or pain in your back or abdomen call your doctor as soon as possible.