Enlarged Prostate: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

The gland that makes fluid which is used to carry sperm during ejaculation is called the prostate.

You find this walnut-shaped gland around the urethra which is the tube where the urine leaves the body. 

What is Enlarged Prostate

When you have a prostate that’s enlarged, this gland has increased in size. Most men will experience an enlarged prostate as they age.

When you have an enlarged prostate, it’s called BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is not cancer and it doesn’t increase your risk of developing cancer of the prostate.

The main causes of prostate enlargement aren’t known. Age seems to play a factor and the cells of the testicles could play a role in how the prostate grows.

If you have had your testicles removed at a young age, you will not develop BPH. If the testicles are removed because of BPH, the prostate will begin to shrink back down.

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Facts About Prostate Enlargement

  • The prostate tends to grow bigger as you age
  • BPH is very common and almost all men have an enlarged prostate in advanced age Some prostate enlargement is found in men over the age of 40. At age 80, 90% of men have an enlarged prostate
  • There are no risk factors for an enlarged prostate

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Causes of Enlarged Prostate

The exact cause of enlargement of the prostate is unknown.  Ageing plays a major factor.  In fact, studies have shown that every man will eventually get an enlarged prostate as they age.

Other possible causes of an enlarged prostate may include:

  • Aging
  • Side effects of testosterone therapy
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis)
  • Cancer of the prostate or bladder
  • Conversion of androgens to estrogen as man ages
  • Narrowing of the urethra (urethral stricture)
  • Trauma from previous surgery in the bladder area
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Problems with nerves that control the bladder
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Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate

The symptoms of an enlarged prostate may vary depending on the severities.  Common signs and symptoms of the prostate gland enlargement include:

  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • You may dribble when you finish urinating
  • It’s hard to urinate which is called urinary retention
  • You can’t completely empty your bladder
  • You suffer from incontinence
  • You get up 2 times or more each night to urinate (nocturia)
  • You have bloody urine or pain as you urinate
  • The urine stream is delayed or slowed down
  • You have to strain to urinate
  • The urine stream is weak that stops and starts 
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Tests and Exams

When you go to get tested the health care provider will give you questions in regards to your medical history. You will have a digital rectal exam to feel the prostate. You could have other tests such as:

  • The flow of your urine
  • The post-void residual test which indicates how much urine remains when you empty your bladder during urination
  • Pressure test to see how much pressure is in the balder when you urinate
  • Checking for infection or blood via a urinalysis test
  • Looking at a urine culture to see if there’s any infection
  • PSA or prostate-specific antigen test which is a screening done for prostate cancer
  • Cystoscopy

In some cases, you’ll be given a form which you’ll fill out to describe symptoms and how these symptoms impact your daily life. The doctor will look at the score to determine if the symptoms are getting worse over a period of time.

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Prostate Enlargement Treatment

There are several treatments that are done, but this will depend on how severe your symptoms are and how these symptoms impact your life. Your medical history is examined, and other medical problems are taken into consideration before treatment is administered. Some treatment will include changes in your lifestyle, surgery, medication, and simply watching the condition for changes.

If you’re over the age of 60, you are more likely to experience symptoms. Many men that have an enlarge prostate, have minor symptoms. Often self-care is all that is required for you get better. Men that have BPH need a yearly exam to monitor the symptoms and to see if any changes in treatment options should occur.

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Self Care for Prostate Enlargement

Mild Symptoms

  • Urinate when you need to go and don’t wait.  Go to the bathroom on a schedule. Even if you don’t feel you need to go
  • Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially after large meals like dinner
  • Don’t drink a lot of fluid at one sitting. Try to spread out your consumption of beverages throughout the day. Don’t drink anything around 2 hours before you go to sleep
  • Watch tour consumption od sinus and cold medications that have antihistamines and decongestants as these types of drugs have been known to increase BPH symptoms
  • Get regular exercise and keep warm. Lack of activity and cold weather may make symptoms worse
  • Kegel exercises can help as they strengthen the pelvic muscles, so you should learn how to do them
  • Deduce your tension and stress as this may make you urinate more frequently
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Alpha-1 blockers are drugs which are used to treat high blood pressure as well as the prostate. They relax the muscles of the bladder, prostate, and neck. These drugs make it easier for you to urinate. If you take alpha-1 blockers, you should see a good improvement in symptoms.

Dutasteride and Finasteride will lower the levels of hormones that the prostate produces. The drugs will also reduce the size of the prostate and allow you to unite better. These drugs decrease many BPH symptom. These drugs are usually prescribed for 3-6 months as it can take this long for the symptoms to get better. Some side effects include impotence as well as a decreased sex drive.

Antibiotics are given if you have prostatitis which is inflammation of the prostate. This can occur with BPH, but and the symptoms usually reduce is severity after antibiotics are administered.

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Surgery on the Prostate

In some cases, surgery could be recommended if you have:

  • Issues with Incontinence
  • You have blood in the urine stream
  • You can’t fully empty your bladder
  • You have a lot of urinary tract infections
  • There’s reduced kidney function
  • You have bladder stones
  • Symptoms which aren’t responding to medications

The severity and types of symptoms you have will determine the surgery that is to be conducted. The shape and size of the prostate will also be taken into consideration. If you have surgery on the prostate, most men have better urine function and symptoms are reduced.

The most common surgery is called TURP or transurethral resection of the prostate. This is a proven method to treat men with BPH. This surgery is performed by the insertion of a scope that goes through the penis and then removes the prostate in pieces.

Another surgery done is a simple prostatectomy where the inside part of the prostate is taken out. There’s a surgical cut done on the lower belly. If the size of your prostate is quite significant, this is the procedure usually conducted.

There are other less invasive procedures which are done. These usually involve heat which destroys prostate tissue. These are not proven to be better than TURP procedures. You may need further surgery after 5-10 years. If you are younger this procedure may be the better option as there’s less risk of incontinence and impotence when you compare it to TURP procedures.

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Men that have BPH can have some complications. If you have BPH for a long time, you may get worsening symptoms such as:

  • Infections of the urinary tract
  • An inability to urinate which comes on suddenly
  • Stones in the urinary tract
  • Kidney damage
  • You have blood in your urine
  • You may have reoccurring BPH over time, even if you opt for surgery

When to See Your Medical Professional

  • Urine is less than you expect
  • You have chills or fever
  • You have abdominal pain, side or back pain
  • Pus or blood in the urine
  • The bladder doesn’t feel empty after urination
  • You try self-care for two mounts, but the symptoms aren’t improving
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An enlarged prostate is quite common in men, particularly as they get older. Your doctor can diagnose your condition and recommend treatment options as necessary. You may also be able to treat BPH at home with great success. Your doctor can help you work through the issue to find the solution that is the best for you.

Jeff Parker is the founder of PEGain.com, an information site for today’s modern men on sexual health improvement and other men’s stuff. I believe in empowering men with the knowledge to make them smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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