Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common men’s health issue. While it’s a normal condition in aging men, it can cause uncomfortable and disruptive urination problems and other issues.
The urology experts at Maiden Lane Medical in Manhattan, NY provide comprehensive testing and personalized treatment plans to relieve BPH symptoms and restore your health. Call our practice today if you have any signs of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the noncancerous enlargement of the prostate. Your prostate gland is approximately the size and shape of a walnut. It’s located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder, and surrounds the urethra.
The prostate gland is a critical part of the male reproductive system. It produces the fluid component of semen.
The prostate has two growth periods during a man’s life. The first occurs around puberty, and the second begins around the age of 25, continuing throughout the rest of a man’s life. This is why the condition’s prevalence increases as men age. For example, around 50% of men between 50 and 60 and up to 90% of men over 80 develop BPH.
How Does BPH Affect the Prostate and the Bladder?
As the prostate enlarges, it compresses the urethra, which can lead to a thickening in the bladder wall. This weakens the bladder and reduces its ability to empty completely, contributing to many of the issues caused by BPH.
Who Is at Risk of Developing BPH?
BPH is extremely common. You’re more likely to develop an enlarged prostate if you’re over the age of 40 and if you have a family history of BPH.
Other risk factors include health issues like obesity, erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle or lack of regular exercise may also increase your risk of the disease.
What Are the Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Frequent urination
- Urinary urgency
- Problems starting a urine flow
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Urinary retention
- Waking up several times during the night to pee
- Urinary incontinence
- Painful urination or ejaculation
- Urine with an unusual smell or color
Most of these issues are caused by a blocked urethra or a weakened or overworked bladder. It’s important to note that symptoms vary between patients, and the size of the enlarged prostate doesn’t necessarily relate to the severity of symptoms.
It’s also possible to have an enlarged prostate and not experience any symptoms. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), less than half of all men with BPH have lower urinary tract symptoms.
When untreated, BPH can lead to complications, including bladder stones, kidney stones, hematuria (blood in the urine), bladder damage, kidney damage, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
How Do You Test for an Enlarged Prostate?
If you have any concerns about an enlarged prostate or have any symptoms, make an appointment for a physical exam and diagnostic tests. While BPH isn’t dangerous, its symptoms resemble other more serious conditions like prostatitis or prostate cancer.
The Maiden Lane Medical team uses a variety of tests to confirm the cause of your symptoms. After reviewing your medical history, your physician completes a physical exam which may include a digital rectal exam, allowing them to feel for excess prostate tissue. They also check for swollen or painful testicles, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, and discharge from the urethra.
Your doctor may also order additional tests to evaluate your condition, which could include urinalysis (urine test), a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, urodynamic tests, cystoscopy, and ultrasound. In some cases, your doctor will order a biopsy to test your prostate tissue for cancerous cells.
What Are the Treatments for BPH?
The Maiden Lane Medical team offers customized treatment plans to relieve symptoms and restore your well-being.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes, such as reducing how much you drink before going out in public or sleeping, avoiding caffeinated beverages and alcohol, doing bladder training, or pelvic floor physical therapy.
Your physician may also prescribe medication such as alpha-blockers, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or combination medicines.
If your condition is more severe, your doctor may suggest a minimally invasive procedure such as:
- Transurethral needle ablation
- Transurethral microwave thermotherapy
- High-intensity focused ultrasound
- Transurethral electrovaporization
- Water Vapor Therapy (REZUM)
- Prostatic stent insertion
- Laser therapy/laser surgery
These treatments help to open your urethra or remove excess tissue from your prostate.
In severe BPH cases or if you have prostate cancer, the Maiden Lane Medical doctors could suggest minimally invasive surgery such as a transurethral resection, resection of the prostate, or a water vapor therapy (REZUM) which ablates the obstructive prostate tissue providing lasting improvement while preserving sexual function.
If you have difficulty urinating or are experiencing any other signs of BPH, contact Maiden Lane Medical in Manhattan, NY to schedule a consultation. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the more quickly you can start treatment to relieve your symptoms and restore your health.
Ron Bakal, MD
Board Certified Urologist
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