Not all men will have to deal with age-related problems, such as baldness or weight gain. Whether you have these problems really depends on your health and your luck. But one problem that almost all men will face, if they live long enough, is prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. The prostate is part of the reproductive system and its function is to add fluid to sperm before ejaculation.
The prostate is quite small when you're young, but as you age it grows and grows. Keep in mind that this growth is not cancerous. However, by design, the prostate wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Therefore, as the prostate grows, it may begin to tighten or pinch the urethra, which can often make it difficult for men with an enlarged prostate to urinate. If you have an enlarged prostate, the first thing you'll notice is that you have trouble urinating.
Instead of having a strong, even flow, urine just drips like a faucet that drips; it drips, drips, drips. Because you don't empty your bladder completely every time, you still feel the need to go to the bathroom, even in the middle of the night. To examine the prostate, the doctor or urologist will check the prostate by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger and feeling for any growths. Other tests can check the flow of urine and the amount of urine left in the bladder after surgery, as well as check for signs of an infection or prostate cancer. How is an enlarged prostate treated? Treatment often depends on how you feel. If you don't have any symptoms, your doctor may suggest that you just observe them, which is called watchful waiting.
If you have bothersome symptoms, medications can reduce the size of your prostate and relax your bladder and prostate so that you don't constantly feel the need to go to the bathroom. For more severe symptoms, surgery can remove excess prostate tissue. The urologist can remove all or part of the prostate through an incision. This surgery is most commonly used when the prostate is very enlarged, complications occur, or the bladder is damaged and needs to be repaired. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is the most commonly used surgery to treat BPH.
TURP removes prostate tissue through the urethra. To help ease the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, control the amount of fluid you drink, especially before bed or before going out. Minimizes alcohol and caffeine, as well as over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines. They can make your symptoms worse. Once you've emptied your bladder, wait a while and try to do it again without straining or pushing. Some people take herbs such as saw palmetto for prostate enlargement.
While there is some evidence that these herbs can alleviate BPH symptoms, many studies have found no benefit. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal remedies, as they can cause side effects. Prostate enlargement isn't usually serious, but it can have a serious impact on your lifestyle, especially when you're always going to the bathroom. Work with your doctor to find the treatment that works best for you. If you've been treating your symptoms for 2 months and don't find any relief, or if you have more severe symptoms, such as not urinating at all, or you have a fever or pain in your back or abdomen, call your doctor as soon as possible.