Benign prostate disease or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that usually affects men after the age of 50, it is characterized by non-cancerous prostate enlargement, and it can be diagnosed through several established tests. Its treatment includes medication such as alpha blockers or surgery, although some people prefer to turn to top prostate supplements for help.
The prostate is a gland found within the male body, that is approximately the size of a walnut and located right below the bladder. It plays a crucial role in the reproductive system, given that it makes fluid that enhances sperm and then carries it through the urethra. As you can imagine, it’s crucial for men to schedule regular checkups in order to make sure that everything is ok.
As problems with the prostate can appear after the age of 50, in most cases, elderly men need to be extra careful when it comes to this. In fact, studies show that 25% of individuals over the age of 55 are having prostate issues, and the percentage increases to 50% when it comes to men over the age of 70 years.
Although there are several types of prostate disease that one can deal with, these include most of the times an enlarged gland which then puts pressure on the bladder, thus interfering with the flow of urine. The prostate gland, in fact, wraps around the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out.
If the gland starts enlarging, then a gradual squeezing of the urethra takes place, which then means other issues can appear. In more serious cases, if the patient has trouble eliminating the urine, kidney-related problems can result as well. This enlargement of the gland is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or as some call it BPH.
A bit more about BPH
While this is a common condition, especially among older men, it doesn’t mean that it should be neglected. The good part is that there are a lot of treatments that can help in the matter, and other aspects can help improve the situation as well, such as lifestyle changes. Medication and surgery are usually the most effective ways in which BPH is treated.
Of course, if you suspect that something might be wrong with the prostate and you’ve noticed symptoms that indicate it, then the first thing you need to do is consult with your doctor. Together, you can find the most suitable course of action, taking into account other factors particular to the case as well.
However, you should know that age, health, and the condition’s development are among the main ones you will have to think about. You should also keep in mind that symptoms can sometimes not show for a while, which is why men over 50 years old should get their prostate regularly checked.
Just as it’s the case with pretty much any other type of health issue, the sooner it is discovered and treated, the easier the process is for the patient.
In terms of causes, this is a question that cannot be easily answered. In fact, doctors are not exactly sure what leads to BPH, and some think that it’s a result of hormonal changes that take place as one ages. However, there is no clear answer here, which is why you may also want to make sure that you have an overall balanced and active lifestyle, which helps in any matter.
There are two main stages in which the prostate grows in a man’s life. The first one takes place early in puberty, when according to research the gland actually doubles in size, while the second one takes place in a man’s thirties. You might not be aware, but for most men, this growth can happen for the rest of their lives, and for some, it can lead to BPH.
A few facts and figures
As we’ve already mentioned, men over the age of 50 are usually prone to develop some sort of a prostate condition, usually one that involves the gland’s enlargement. More than half of individuals over 60 years are dealing with such a condition, and the percentage rises to around 80% for those reaching 80 years old.
This doesn’t mean that it necessarily turns into BPH, but there is a high chance that this might happen. Moreover, only about half of these men have any symptoms that might indicate an enlarged prostate. The most common signs include a weak urinary system, as well as a sense of having difficulty to completely empty the bladder.
If you notice that you need to urinate more often, especially during the night, this might indicate that you need to go see a doctor. The same applies if the urine flow stops and starts again. Given the importance of this gland, you should not postpone making an appointment to see an expert.
What about the diagnosis?
Most of the times a prostate disease is diagnosed due to the symptoms. The doctor performs a physical examination, and if it’s necessary other tests might be run as well. These usually measure the urine flow, which can then help determine if the urethra is being blocked and how much.
Most of the times, when someone hears that they have a prostate issue, they think about cancer. While such a condition can appear as well, the good news is that BPH doesn’t mean an individual also has cancer. In any case, your doctor will probably check the gland for any abnormalities that might indicate a more serious problem.
Moreover, the PSA blood test can also be used to measure a certain substance that increases in the blood when cancer cells appear, this way rendering a more reliable result. However, for your own peace of mind, the American Urological Association recommends having a yearly prostate examination done if you are over the age of 50.
Those who also have a family history of such diseases should begin doing these exams as early as 40 years old, just to make sure that everything is in order. Other tests can also provide a clearer image for the right diagnosis, such as ultrasound ones.
However, all of the details need to be discussed with your doctor, since he or she is the one that can take any particularities of a certain case into account when determining what the right course of action is.
What about treatments?
According to specialists, BPH requires treatment only if the symptoms are affecting a patient’s quality of life, which would mean that the urinary tract is severely affected, or if any complication appear. Kidney damage or bleeding might be some of these, and they are not fun to deal with.
However, an enlarged prostate by itself might not need treatment but it should be kept under active surveillance by the patient and if any changes or symptoms appear, the issue should be tackled. Once your doctor establishes what treatment is necessary, there are several ways in which this issue can be dealt with.
Medication can help alleviate the symptoms and there are two ways to go about this. Medicine used for high blood pressure can help relax the muscle tissue found in the prostate, which in turn relieves part of the blockage. The other solution might be to use meds that shrink the enlarged prostate, by stopping the effect of testosterone hormones within the body.
Surgery is another way to deal with this issue, and it is currently one of the most widely accepted types of treatments, especially when the symptoms are severe. What this approach means is that some of the enlarged tissue is removed in order to minimize the symptoms and the pressure applied to the urethra.
Other treatments can include thermal therapy, herbal extracts, or radiofrequency, but these are all still evaluated by doctors, so before you choose any particular one, you should go talk to a specialist.