What is it?
An enlarged prostate, known also as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostatic hypertrophy, is a troublesome gland enlargement that can cause urinary issues. It is a common issue for aging men. The prostate is a walnut sized gland located just under the bladder. It is responsible for controlling the flow of urine and the production of the fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. As a man ages his prostate grows, most notably at puberty and again around the age of 25. The second phase of prostate growth can last for many years. As the prostate grows it can push against the urethra and bladder which may slow or even stop the flow of urine. Nearly all men over the age of 90 are affected by BPH.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
- A weak or interrupted urine stream
- A frequent need to urinate
- Difficulty to begin urinating
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Straining while urininating
- Urinary tract infection
- Bladder stones
- A feeling of not being able to empty the bladder
To test for enlarged prostate doctors may ask detailed questions about your symptoms. Testing can include a digital rectal exam, a neurological exam, a urine test, as well as several others. In a digital Rectal exam (DRE) the doctor will examine the prostate for any abnormalities by feeling the texture, shape, and size of the gland. Depending on the symptoms the doctor may perform a neurological exam to see if there is another cause to the urinary problem other than an enlarged prostate. In a urine test the doctor may collect a urine sample to rule out any infections or other issues that may cause similar symptoms.
There are many different medications and surgical treatments available to treat an enlarged prostate. Drugs like Cialis and Alpha blockers can treat up to moderate symptoms of prostate enlargement. Surgeries like transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP or TIP) go directly through the urethra and modify the prostate for better flow. There are several other minimally invasive surgeries available to relieve an enlarged prostate. Each treatment can have effective results but patients should continue to see their doctor for a yearly exam.
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for based on your condition.