Are you aware of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and what it is?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate grows larger than it should. There are several treatments available to treat the condition. They never cause trouble to men throughout their lives. Unfortunately, now men have to use the toilet every night, sometimes even twice in a night. It’s likely that these nightly bathroom runs are the first sign of an enlarged prostate for most men.
Dribbling, leaking, and trouble starting a stream of urine are other possible symptoms. As with gray hair, doctors say an enlarged prostate is a natural by-product of aging. The problem is that nightly trips to the restroom become more frequent and in the end becoming a daytime routine.
There are several names for this condition – enlarged prostate, benign prostate hyperplasia, and so on. Men over 50 are most likely to experience prostate enlargement. The American Urological Association (AUA) reports that more than half of men have BPH by the age of 60, and 90% by the age of 85.
The Causes and Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate
The urethra is the passage through which urine flows from the bladder in men. A benign (noncancerous) increase in prostate size that blocks urine flow through the urethra is called BPH. As the prostate cells multiply, they enlarge, placing pressure on the urethra, the tube through which urine and semen leave the body. Urine has to be pushed through the body more forcefully as the urethra narrows.
The bladder muscle becomes stronger, thicker, and more sensitive over time; it starts contracting even when it contains small amounts of urine, causing frequent urination. Eventually, the muscle in the bladder cannot overcome the narrowed urethra, so urine remains in the bladder and cannot be completely discharged.
These are some of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate:
- Struggling to urinate
- Starting to urinate is difficult
- Frequently urinating
- Minutes after urinating, returning to urinate again
- Insufficiency or slowness of urination
- An incomplete bladder emptying feeling
- Urination urgency
- Frequent urination during the night
- An irregular urinary stream
- Urine drips continuously
Infections of the urinary tract can develop if the bladder doesn’t empty completely. In addition to bladder stones, blood in the urine, incontinence, and acute urinary retention (an inability to urinate), other serious problems can develop over time. If you suddenly become unable to urinate, see your doctor right away. It is possible for bladder and/or kidney damage to develop from BPH in rare cases.
How do you deal with your enlarged prostate?
Men often put up with an enlarged prostate for months or even years before consulting a physician. Sometimes situations aren’t as obvious as they seem. When men start having urinary issues, it’s hard to figure out what’s causing them.
A doctor should be consulted if anything changes, since bladder cancer, stones, and prostate cancer can occur. After making sure nothing more serious is going on, BPH is often diagnosed as an exclusion diagnosis.
Individuals differ greatly in their prostate growth and the problems they encounter as a result. It varies from person to person.
Options for treating BPH
It is not the end of the world if you have BPH. Take action right now without any delay to avoid problems in the future. You may develop a urinary tract infection, acute urinary retention, and kidney and bladder stones if you do not treat BPH. Serious cases can even result in kidney damage.
Medication and surgery are both available as treatment options. Several factors will be considered by you and your physician.
An innovative prostate procedure at RJIR
Dr. Rotimi Johnson, while he was an Interventional Radiologist with St. Louis University Hospital performed one of the first prostate artery embolization and helped to develop an innovative prostate procedure. Despite the fact that Johnson had performed the procedure on other organs at the hospital, but not on a prostate gland, Medicare paid for the procedure. Since then Medicare has added it to one of their paid procedures but it is still not widely available.
Using an instrument inserted into the groin or wrist, tiny beads about “10 times the size of a red blood cell” are inserted into the tiny blood vessels that feed the prostate. The gland shrinks when it loses its blood supply. Embolization of BPH is a new application of beads to block blood flow. Hence, clinical trials are needed for it to be more effective.
As a result of this method, researchers have seen results more quickly than expected. Interventional radiologists are excited to learn about a less complicated route to the embolization option for BPH that may be available in the future. Hopefully, we will be able to offer a less complicated procedure for embolization in a few years.