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Enlarged Prostate Symptoms
Enlarged prostate, also known as Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) is a medical condition commonly observed in aging men. It refers to the non-malignant growth of the prostate gland. Enlarged prostate symptoms include difficulties in urination or trouble in starting a stream of urine, weak stream, leaking or dribbling, painful ejaculation, blood in semen or urine, and frequent urination. Experts say that like gray hair, an enlarged prostate is a natural by-product of getting older. In some men, enlarged prostate symptoms are mild and do not require any treatment while in others they can be very troublesome.
As a part of the male reproductive system, the prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is located in the pelvis and wraps around the male urethra near the bladder. If the size of the prostate gets larger than normal, it starts to exert pressure on the bladder and the urethra and the enlarged prostate symptoms start to surface. According to the National Kidney and Urological Disease Information Clearinghouse, BPH is the most common health problem for men over the age of 50. By the age of 60, one-half of men have benign prostate hyperplasia. American Urological Association (AUA) claims that by the age of 85, this number climbs to 90%. Moreover, it should be made clear that a common myth links prostate cancer and enlarged prostate which is not the case. Prostate cancer and prostate enlargement are two different health conditions. The following paragraphs present further insight into what causes enlarged prostate and the characteristic symptoms of this condition.
What Causes Enlarged Prostate?
Generally, an enlarged prostate is linked with aging and the hormonal change that occurs in the body as men get older. The hormone balance in the body changes with age and this may cause your prostate gland to grow. Some studies suggest that at least one in every four men gets affected by this disorder after the age of 40. The precise etiology of the enlarged prostate is quite complicated but there are several risk factors that are linked to triggering the development of enlarged prostate symptoms. These factors include age, hormone balance, genetics, inflammation, growth factors, and of course your lifestyle and eating habits.
Age and genetics play a major role in the development of enlarged prostate symptoms because the aging process is followed by several cellular and hormonal changes in the prostate gland. Also, microvascular disease and inflammations provide a favorable environment for the development of the disorder. Some recent studies have shown evidence for BPH being an inheritable disease. The genetic factor is said to account for almost 72% increased risk of developing mild to severe BPH symptoms in elderly men. Additionally, sex steroid hormones are also linked with causing the enlarged prostate. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate and modern studies suggest that estrogens and selective estrogen receptors may play a role in hormonal interactions involved in cellular growth of the prostate.
An unhealthy lifestyle and poor eating habits are also linked to enlarged prostate symptoms. In a systematic review of the research related to metabolic syndrome (mets) and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), it was reported that obesity and lifestyle may play an active part in developing prostate health disorders. It was also reported that the chances of BPH are significantly higher in men with metabolic syndrome as compared to those without mets. Furthermore, the difference in the prostate volume was also higher in obese men.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a close link between inflammation and the development of enlarged prostate symptoms. Some studies have shown that inflammatory infiltrates are possible one of the most prevalent features coexisting with the enlarged prostate and they might be directly correlated with the weight and volume of the prostate.
Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate
In men, urine flows from the bladder through the urethra. The prostate gland is located in the pelvis and wraps around the urethra. So an above-average size of prostate can pressurize and push the urethra as well as the bladder. Hence benign prostate hyperplasia affects how you urinate and causes many difficulties related to urination. The common symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
- A sudden urge to urinate
- A sensation of incomplete bladder emptying
- Pain during urination
- Blood in urine stream and semen
- Decreased or intermittent force of the stream
- Dribbling and leaking
- “Stop-start” peeing
- Accidently leaking urine
- Frequent need for urination in night
Sometimes the urine stream becomes very weak as an enlarged prostate squeezes the tube through which urine passes and exits the body. Many patients with an enlarged prostate need to go to the bathroom more frequently at night. It is also one of the symptoms when a patient takes longer than normal time for urination. Many of the patients do not feel empty even after urination.
Prostate size and severity of the disease symptoms aren’t directly related to each other according to some studies. Sometimes, patients with a much-enlarged prostate volume show very few mainstream symptoms and although it’s very rare, some patients do not exhibit symptoms at all. Some patients experience severe symptoms and pain but their prostate size is slightly enlarged. Many men can adapt to the symptoms and manage their disorder quite well, but for some, it becomes a very bothersome and major problem.
An enlarged prostate can lead to some other health conditions like urinary tract infection (UTI), sleep deprivation, depression, and acute urinary retention (AUR). Stress incontinence is also one of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. In stress incontinence, urine leaks when the body experiences a strain like coughing, sneezing, and lifting a heavy object. It will not be wrong to say that BPH impacts the overall quality of life of the patient because it happens in that stage of life where mental and physical strength starts to decrease.
Warding Off Prostate Health Conditions
Conventional options to manage BPH symptoms include watchful waiting, behavior modification, medical therapy and surgery. However, most frequently prescribed medications for BPH may cause side effects as most of the patients are of an older age and may have other diseases such as cardiovascular issues, diabetes, hypertension, and renal impairments. This class of patients is usually at a higher risk of drug-related side effects. So the most common approach to managing the disease symptoms is to try natural remedies for enlarged prostate, change the lifestyle and dietary intake of the affected person.