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Enlarged prostate: a big problem

Do you have to visit the bathroom frequently? Are you having trouble urinating? Does the urge to urinate wake you up from a deep sleep and keep you from having proper conversations in social situations? Is your urine flow interrupted and irregular? If the answer to all these questions is a resounding "yes," then you may have an enlarged prostate.

Many do not know this, but an enlarged prostate is the first sign of aging. It accompanies old age like grey hair and loose teeth. Some people do not seek medical attention immediately after facing repeated night-time urination problems, hoping it is just a phase. The problem is it does not go away on its own but finds its way into the daytime routine as well. An enlarged prostate can make it difficult for someone to do his job correctly or merely sit for an extended period.

What is the enlargement of the prostate?

Doctors refer to this condition as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). According to statistics from the National Kidney and Urological Disease Information Clearinghouse, 50% of men experience problems urinating by the time they hit 60, and 90% of men have BPH by 90-years of age. The non-cancerous growth of the prostate creates excess pressure on the urethra. As the pressure increases, the bladder muscles begin to grow stronger and overly sensitive. That results in frequent contractions even when small volumes of urine is present in the bladder. Eventually, the bladder muscles fail to empty the bladder due to the intense pressure on the urethra. It causes some amount of urine to remain in the bladder constantly. 

Why should you seek a doctor's help early?

Surgery is the last step to correct an enlarged prostate. Doctors usually recommend medications for benign conditions that create a small to moderate effect on the bladder. In fact, to treat the enlargement of the prostate common medications necessary are not costly, if the patient seeks testing and expert advice early.

  1. Doctors usually prescribe alpha-1 blockers to control the frequent urination problems, and they suggest a few lifestyle changes. Alpha-1 blockers usually improve the symptoms within a week, and they can also reduce the size of the prostate. You may need to wait six months before the physiological changes show. Sometimes, chronic inflammation demands antibiotic treatments. An intensive course of antibiotics can reduce the inflammation and improve the symptoms of BPH.
  1. Sometimes, patients also receive prescriptions of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. This drug reduces the size of the prostate by blocking a male hormone (DHT). These work slower than alpha-blockers, but they can improve the urine flow and continence within three months. They also reduce the chances of surgery.

Even with constant medication, you will need to opt-in for regular tests that screen for the possibility of cancer among other things. Maintaining treatment quality, changes in lifestyle and periodic screening can be expensive. However, that is the only recommended way to improve your BPH without surgical methods. The only time doctors recommend surgery is when a patient is suffering from incontinence, blood in urine, frequent UTIs and symptoms that do not respond to medications.