Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland. While the symptoms of BPH can be similar to prostate cancer, BPH is not cancer and generally does not pose a serious health threat to most men. Virtually all men are susceptible to some degree of prostate enlargement as they age, and the condition affects as many as half of all men over the age of 75.
Symptoms of BPH
Because an enlarged prostate gland can cause pressure or blockage of the urethra, men with BPH can experience problems with urination. The most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty with urination including the inability to start urinating
- Persistent sensation of needing to urinate
- Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
- Bladder does not feel empty after urinating
In rare cases where the bladder becomes blocked, urinating becomes extremely difficult or impossible, and patients could be at risk for bladder infections, kidney stones, or kidney damage.
What Causes BPH?
As men age, natural changes in the body like cell growth and hormonal imbalances can lead to BPH. After the age of 35, the prostate begins to grow at varying rates for men. A urologist can diagnose BPH through a physical exam, urine analysis, and medical history. In some cases further tests or studies may be necessary. Prostate cancer screening will likely be performed as well. It is important to remember that BPH is not related to and does not cause prostate cancer. BPH does not affect fertility.
Treatment for BPH
Treatment for BPH will range from patient to patient and depend on the severity of symptoms. In cases where the symptoms are mild to moderate and do not cause measurable discomfort or disrupt the patient’s quality of life, treatment is usually not necessary and a urologist may recommend regular follow up and screenings. Patients experiencing symptoms of a blocked bladder or stones should seek immediate medical attention.
While age-related prostate enlargement and the subsequent urinary problems are a natural part of the aging process in men, there are steps that men can take at home to try and manage symptoms.
Double-voiding – Emptying the bladder by urinating once, taking a pause and relaxing and then urinating again.
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
Certain over the counter medications like antihistamines, decongestants and allergy pills can cause difficulty with urination.
Contact an Expert Urologist in Los Angeles Today
If you are experiencing symptoms of BPH, Dr. Kia Michel and Dr. Susan Rusnack at Prostate Cancer Specialists of Los Angeles is among the best urologists in Los Angeles and can provide screening and treatment options for BPH and prostate issues. Call 310-341-2557 today to schedule an appointment or book an appointment online.
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