Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), better known as an enlarged prostate, is a fairly common condition affecting men. Did you know that over 50% of men between the ages of 51-60 are affected by an enlarged prostate and this increases even more for men over the age of 70. Risked factors associated with an enlarged prostate include ageing, family history and medical conditions such as diabetes.
It is important to note that an enlarged prostate does not mean that you have cancer and research suggests that this does not lead to cancer in the future. Although it is not a life-threatening condition, it can lead to some uncomfortable and disruptive symptoms. As the prostate grows it pushes down onto the urethra causing symptoms such as:
- Urinary incontinence
- Pain or difficultly when urinating
- Feeling that your bladder is never empt
- Regular urination during the night
- Frequent urination
- Altered urination flow – weak and/or slow
If you believe you have an enlarged prostate you should go to see your GP. To make a clear diagnosis your GP may conduct a rectal examination and order you to have a kidney function blood test. Depending on your medical history they may also ask you to have more tests done, for example checking your blood sugar level if you have diabetes.
There are a number of different treatment options that are available for men suffering from an enlarged prostate. Typically, the first place to start is life style changes. This can include:
- Drink less alcoholic and fizzy drinks
- Avoid drinks late at night
- Don’t hold your wee in
- Double voiding – waiting a few minutes after your initial wee to see if there is more
- Possibly changing medication – make sure you talk to your doctor first
- Have a fibre rich diet
- Try to retrain your bladder
If this is unsuccessful then you may need to be referred to see a urologist to talk about more invasive treatment options. The goal with all treatment is to improve the quality of the patient’s life.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.