Causes of BPH (Enlarged Prostate) :
The prostate gland doubles in size at the onset of puberty and again starts to grow at the age of around 45 years. From then on it continues to grow.
In some people, it may enlarge to an abnormal extent and be referred to as an enlarged prostate. Many doctors are of the opinion that the regular and normal hormonal changes that occur in the body may be a cause of the disease.
The changes that occur in the body as men get older and that is associated with the balancing of the sex hormones may specifically cause the condition. But the more exact causes are not known.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate Gland or BPH :
There are a number of symptoms related to the enlargement of the prostate gland which clearly indicate the presence of the condition. These symptoms may also worsen gradually over a period of time if the disease is not treated early.
Some of the Symptoms of BPH (Enlarged Prostate) Include :
- Nocturia or increased urination frequency during the night
- Frequent and urgent need of urination during the day
- Difficulty in starting urination
- A urine stream that starts and stops abruptly
- A weak stream of urine
- Difficult incomplete urination or thorough emptying of the bladder
- Dribbling at the end of urination
As said earlier, the enlargement of the prostate gland may also pose problems to other organs including the kidneys. There are also certain other symptoms of BPH but these are less common and include:
- An Infection in the urinary tract
- Urine containing blood
- A complete inability towards urination
There is no clear link between the size of the prostate and the symptoms. Some men having smaller prostate enlargements have more severe symptoms and vice versa. In some cases, it has been found that the symptoms of BPH stabilize or may even get more improved over a period of time.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland may also coincide or be the same as the symptoms of other medical conditions including cancer or inflammation of the prostate, the presence of stones in kidney or stones in bladder, scarring in the bladder and other conditions. Enlargement of the prostate is not cancer but only a doctor can diagnose the real cause of the symptoms.
Risk factors of BPH (Enlarged Prostate) :
- BPH has been found to run in families, which means that if you have a family relative affected by the condition you are more likely to have it.
- Age is another risk factor of BPH and one-third of men in between the ages 40 to 60 years may have moderate to mild symptoms. Around half the male population at the age of 80 and above has the symptoms of BPH.
- Diseases including heart disease and diabetes may increase the risk of BPH.
- Those having higher body mass index (BMI) or suffering from obesity are more exposed to the risk of BPH while those who exercise regularly have a reduced risk.
When to see your doctor?
As the symptoms of BPH are similar to other grave and fatal diseases, it is very important for you to reach out to an expert to diagnose the condition in the best way and with most reliable results. A grave or more complete obstruction of the urinary tract may also occur if the condition is not treated in time.
Complications of BPH (Enlarged Prostate) :
The disease may have serious and grave complications later on.
Urinary Retention - When the patient has a complete inability towards urinating, the urine gets accumulated inside the bladder and a catheter may be used for draining it out of the body. Surgery may also be done to improve the condition.
Frequent UTIs - If the urine is not adequately drained, frequent infections of the urinary tract may occur. A part of the prostate gland may be removed through surgery if infections are occurring frequently.
Kidney Damage - Damage to kidneys may also occur because of the increased pressure in the bladder due to retention of urine. The infections of the bladder may also reach the kidneys.
Bladder stones may occur in the bladder because of urine retention and may be a cause of irritation, infections, and occurrence of blood in the urine. The stones may also obstruct the flow of urine.
Damage to Kidneys and the condition of acute urinary retention are grave and serious conditions.
Diagnosis of BPH (Enlarged Prostate) :
The doctor will try to know your family history and other aspects of your physical condition. He may ask you questions directly about your condition or you may be required to fill a survey form, which will have questions pertaining to urination and other aspects of the condition.
The doctor will also try to examine the shape and size of your prostate gland through the digital rectal examination. During the examination, he will wear the gloves and insert a finger gently into the rectum area for the examination.
Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA test, blood test, and urine test are also carried out. Apart from detecting the condition of the prostate, these tests also aim to find out the presence of any infection or adverse impact on the kidney.
Advanced tests including ultrasound, biopsy (for ruling out the presence of cancer), and urodynamics test (for evaluating the functioning of the bladder).
Treatment of BPH (Enlarged Prostate) :
Lifestyle Changes :
Surgical Procedure and Techniques :
TUMT (TransUrethral Microwave Therapy) - Use of cold and heat for killing excess prostate cells and tissues. A catheter is entered inside the prostate and has instruments for generating and delivering microwave heat/energy.
TUNA (TransUrethral Needle Ablation) - A Cystoscope (a surgical and visual instrument is inserted via the penis into the urethra. Tiny radio-frequency (RF) needles are also passed through the Cystoscope and these deliver heat and cause necrosis, thereby shrinking the prostate issues.
Procedures including Laser Therapy and TransUrethral Resection of Prostate (TURP) are more involved surgical procedures and are carried out to remove a part of the prostate gland.
Laser Therapy - A scope is inserted via the penis tip into the urethra. As the urethra is surrounded by the prostate gland, the heat/energy (passed through the scope subsequently) cuts the excessive tissues of the prostate or melts them.
TUIP (Transurethral Incision of Prostate) - The method involves making some small incision on the prostate so that the pressure on urethra can be released.
A Robotic Surgery or an Open Surgery may also be performed if all these measures are incapable of treating the enlarged prostate condition.
Open Surgery - Open surgery for enlarged prostate (or open prostatectomy) is usually carried out if the prostate is excessively large, or when TURP cannot be done because of some reason. It may also be carried out if bladder stones are there, or the bladder wall has pouches (bladder diverticula).
Surgery for treating BPH may also have certain complications and side effects. Erectile dysfunction, incontinence, stricture/ narrowing of the urinary tube, and bleeding may be some of the side effects of a surgery. While some of the conditions may heal themselves naturally, others may require medical intervention.
A number of treatment methods are available for the treatment of the disease BPH. But it is important for the patient to reach out to the doctor early so that the symptoms do not aggravate and worsen over a period of time and cause damage to other vital organs of the body. A prompt medical intervention will avoid the complications and may improve the condition easily.
BPH (Enlarged Prostate) FAQs :
How can I reduce the size of my prostate?
Is enlarged prostate a serious problem?
What is the best medicine for BPH?
What is the main cause of BPH?
Which drug is best for BPH?
What medication should be avoided in BPH?
Which drug shrinks the prostate?
What do doctors prescribe for enlarged prostate?
- Alpha Blockers - These drugs relax the muscles of the bladder and the prostate and relieve symptoms. The medications includes Alfuzosin and Terazosin among others.
- 5 Alpha-reductase Inhibitors - These drugs do not allow the prostate to grow any further and also cause its shrinkage. Finasteride and Dutasteride are 2 drugs of this classification.
- Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors - Drugs of this class including Sildenafil can improve the flow rate of urine.