Prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is an enlarged prostate gland. It happens most with aging, though the cause of the enlargement is unknown.
The prostate is a small gland that forms part of the male reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder, where urine is stored. The prostate also surrounds the urethra, the canal through which urine passes. It is common for the prostate gland to become enlarged as men age. In fact, men rarely have any prostate enlargement before age 40. After age 40, the likelihood of it happening increases to the point where more than half of men in their sixties, and a majority of men in their seventies and eighties have some signs of BPH.
When the prostate is enlarged, the gland is pressed against the urethra. The bladder begins to contract, causing more frequent urination. Eventually, this weakens the bladder and it loses the ability to empty itself completely, so some urine remains in the bladder. The urethra narrows, and the bladder only empties partiallyâ€”this causes many of the problems of BPH.
The symptoms of enlarged prostate include a weak stream of urine, not feeling empty after urination, urgency, and more frequent urination especially at nighttime. BPH is not a serious condition but it can worsen over time, and in some rare cases could signify prostate cancer. You should seek treatment if you have BPH symptoms and they interfere with your daily life.Â Leaving BPH untreated can make it more severe, which leads to urinary tract infections, kidney damage, bladder stones and increased incontinence.
Another prostate condition that can affect men is called prostatitis. This means the prostate is inflamed, or irritated and the main symptom is burning during urination or the urge for more frequent urination. Prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the prostate gland. Men over age 50 who have BPH are at an increased risk for prostatitis. Prostatitis is treatable but can be painful.
There are treatment options for BPH including lifestyle changes, medicine and surgery. If you are suffering from signs of an enlarged prostate, contact your physician who can refer you to a specialist. If you are experiencing incontinence,Â contact us. Or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-771-1953 to learn more.