An enlarged prostate can cause a range of uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder and causing problems with the bladder, urinary tract, or kidneys. There are several treatments available for prostate gland enlargement, including medications, minimally invasive therapies, and surgery. The size of the prostate does not necessarily determine the severity of symptoms; some men with only a slightly enlarged prostate may have significant symptoms, while other men with a very large prostate may only have mild urinary symptoms. In some cases, symptoms may even improve over time.
It is important to identify any underlying cause as urinary problems can cause urinary tract obstruction if left untreated. Nearly half of men in their 50s have an enlarged prostate, and this number increases with age, as 90% of men in the United States over 80 have this problem. One of the main characteristics of prostate enlargement is difficulty in completely emptying the bladder, leading to frequent urination and nocturia (waking up all night to urinate). Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a normal physiological process of aging and usually does not cause any serious medical problems.
However, it can cause problems in quality of life due to side effects. Symptoms may include a slow or delayed start of urination, the need to urinate frequently during the night, difficulty emptying the bladder, a strong and sudden need to urinate, and incontinence. Less than half of men with BPH have symptoms of the disease or their symptoms are mild and don't restrict their lifestyle. To determine if the prostate may be enlarged, Dr.
will ask you to fill out a form to assess how severe your symptoms are and how much they affect your daily life. If you don't have any symptoms, your doctor may suggest that you just watch your symptoms, called watchful waiting. If you have bothersome symptoms, medicines can reduce the size of your prostate gland and relax your bladder and prostate so you don't feel the constant need to go to the bathroom. To help relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate, control the amount of fluid you drink, especially before going to bed or before going out.
Most people who take alpha-blockers notice an improvement in their symptoms, usually 3 to 7 days after they start taking the medication. The choice of recommended surgical procedure is usually based on the severity of symptoms and on the size and shape of the prostate gland. Men with BPH should see their doctor once a year to monitor the progression of symptoms and decide on the best treatment as needed.