Enlarged Prostate Symptoms: Everything You Need To Know
In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms of an enlarged prostate as well as some more useful information related to the same issue.
What Is A Prostate?
Our bodies have a type of organ called glands. Glands are important organs that are located in different parts of the body and perform different functions. The prostate is one such gland that resembles a walnut and is located between the bladder and the penis.
The prostate is an important part of the male reproductive anatomy. It surrounds the urethra which is the tube that carries the urine from the bladder to outside the body.
Uses Of The Prostate Gland
The prostate gland produced an alkaline liquid that forms about 70% of semen. Further, this fluid provides nutrition for the sperm. This makes the prostate a very crucial part of the male reproductive organ.
Moreover, the muscles in the prostate gland close off the neck of the bladder during sexual climax. This ensures that the semen is transferred to the urethra and expelled outside.
What Is An Enlarged Prostate?
Often, the prostate gland grows bigger. It is common for the prostate to enlarge as men get older. It is one of the most common conditions faced by men.
The condition of an enlarged prostate is also called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This condition occurs when the stromal and epithelial cells of the prostate start growing and multiplying rapidly.
There are no exact reasons that can be attributed to the enlargement of the prostate. However, most men tend to develop an enlarged prostate as they age. A history of enlarged prostate in the family also increases the risk of a man getting this condition.
Moreover, lifestyle factors like unhealthy eating habits, obesity, and erectile dysfunction can also increase the risk of getting an enlarged prostate. A combination of medication and lifestyle changes can reduce the inflammation of the prostate gland and even reverse the enlargement.
Symptoms Of Enlarged Prostate
The enlargement of the prostate mainly disrupts the urinal habits of a man. The symptoms can be divided into two broad categories, namely obstructive or those which make it difficult to urinate and irritable or those which make passing urine very painful or difficult.
The expansion of the prostate exerts pressure on the Urethra. This narrows the Urethra, making the bladder contract more forcefully than usual. Over time, the bladder becomes overly sensitive and starts contracting forcefully even when it is not full.
This creates a sensation of wanting to urinate. Therefore, one of the primary symptoms of an enlarged prostate is the need to urinate frequently which is caused due to an over-sensitive bladder. However, this over-exertion weakens the bladder with time which causes discomfort while peeing.
BPH also leads to the development of a condition called nocturia in which a man needs to urinate frequently at night. As an enlarged prostate weakens the bladder over time, it reduces the capacity of the bladder to retain urine throughout the night. This condition leads to incomplete sleep or disturbed sleep due to constant disturbance.
In the case of BPH, the enlarged prostate presses against the urethra. This weakens the bladder and makes it difficult to empty it while peeing. Therefore, some urine may be left behind in the bladder even after urination.
This leads to urinary retention which is one of the most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Urinary retention can damage the bladder and the kidney and in some cases cause urinary tract infection. This can cause pain or a burning sensation while passing urine.
Moreover, urinary retention causes a frequent urge to urinate. In extreme cases, if BPH related kidney damage is not diagnosed and treated in time, it can cause renal failure.
A weakened bladder makes it painful or difficult to urinate for men with BPH. It also causes trouble in starting to urinate. Even while urinating, the stream is often very weak which causes a sense of discomfort and irritation. This causes strain in the abdominal region and can lead to subsisting pain there.
Moreover, men with enlarged prostate complain that they have to stop and restart urinating several times which causes an uncomfortable feeling. It often makes one feel that the bladder is not empty and prompts frequent urination. This may also lead to a feeling of a strong urgency to urinate suddenly and frequently and continued dribbling of urine even after one stops urinating.
If BPH is not diagnosed and treated in time, it might lead to severe damage to the bladder. This can make it exceedingly difficult to control the bladder which may cause patients to wet the bed at night. It may also cause trouble controlling the bladder when one feels a sudden urge to urinate.
In extreme cases, patients of BPH may also develop Hematuria which is the presence of blood in a person’s urine. Hematuria can be a sign of a severe and complicated case of BPH and warrants immediate medical attention.
BPH can also lead to a decrease in libido and reduce semen release. Due to this, men who suffer from BPH often also have erectile dysfunction. This can be due to the impact of an enlarged prostate on the male reproductive hormone or due to the psychological impact of symptoms associated with BPH.
Since the symptoms of prostate cancer overlap with the symptoms of BPH, it is important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis as soon as one experiences any of the symptoms mentioned here.
Urologists may diagnose the condition of BPH by asking questions about the severity and location of pain and discomfort. They also carefully analyze the medical history of the patient to increase the accuracy of the diagnosis.
Urologists can diagnose BPH by analyzing the abnormalities associated with urination. The American Urological Association has developed a BPH Symptom Score Index that contains a series of questions on urinary symptoms. The result of this test is often used by doctors to diagnose BPH.
Doctors may also prescribe a Urine Flow Test to check the functioning of the bladder and the sphincter. There are different kinds of urine tests that have the common goal to test how well a person can pass urine and if there is any pain or difficulty associated with the process.
Doctors also recommend the Prostate-Specific Antigen Test which is a blood test that tests the level of PSA in the bloodstream. High levels of PSA in the blood suggest the enlargement of the prostate. The prostate size may also be determined through a digital rectal examination.
Scans are one of the most reliable ways to check the size of the prostate. Ultrasounds and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are used to see detailed pictures of the size and shape of the prostate.
Enlarged Prostate Symptoms: Conclusion
Since an enlarged prostate is a very commonly acquired condition with age, men should avoid drinking excessive fluids in the form of alcohol and artificially sweetened drinks as they age. Moreover, men should be on the lookout for any of the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate and consult a Urologist if they face any of the symptoms.
December 15, 2020 Sam Bell