BPH â€” or benign prostatic hyperplasia â€” is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. It is a condition associated with aging, probably due to hormonal changes. BPH is benign. This means it is not cancer. It does not cause or lead to cancer. However, BPH and cancer can happen at the same time. BPH symptoms can vary with the individual and they also differ as the condition progresses. The discomfort and complications associated with an enlarged prostate are related to a combination of problems that develop over time. There are three factors that may increase risk of developing BPH:
- Family History â€“ If any immediate blood relative was diagnosed with BPH, you are more likely to develop the condition.
- Medical Conditions â€“ Some research indicates that conditions such as obesity may contribute to the development of BPH.
The prostate goes through two main growth periods with age. The first occurs early in puberty when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase of growth begins around age 25 and continues during most of a manâ€™s life. BPH often occurs with the second growth phase. When the prostate is enlarged, it can bother or block the bladder causing Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) which include -frequent urination, feeling that bladder is full even right after emptying, weak stream of urine, need of start & stop urinating several times, trouble starting to urinate, straining etc. To cope with these symptoms, the patient starts restricting water and other fluid intake and being conscious of his urination, for example, being on the look-out of toilet location wherever he goes, urinating before going on long trips outdoors, where he might not have access to loos such as on a long-distance bus journey. These coping strategies further restrict the patientâ€™s quality of life
According to Dr Rahul Potode, Urologist, Amba Multi-speciality Hospital & Research Center â€œSurprisingly it is a very common condition. Half of all men between the ages of 50 and 60 will develop it, and by the age of 80, about 90% of men will have BPH. Patients are largely unaware of this condition despite high prevalence rates as they consider it a normal part of ageing. Most realized there was a problem when the frequency of washroom visits increased seemingly sudden and quick onset â€“ not a gradual increase. This is how it started for most, described as the first symptom.â€
Further Dr Rahul Potode, Urologist, Amba Multi-speciality Hospital & Research Center adds, â€œThere is no known link between BPH and prostate cancer. But it is important to see your health care provider figure out the cause of your symptoms. Often, men change their daily routines to accommodate their symptoms instead of finding ways to live their life without interruptions.
Whether your symptoms are mild, moderate or severe, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with a physician to discuss your condition and appropriate treatment options. There are many treatments for BPH. You and your doctor will decide together which option is best suitable to you. Often, BPH may only require active surveillance (sometimes called watchful waiting). In some cases, medications will be effective and for others minimally invasive procedures are good choices. And sometimes a combination of treatment works better. Simple lifestyle management techniques are also advised to manage the symptoms such as –
â€¢ Stay active â€“ being inactive can cause problems emptying your bladder
â€¢ Try to empty your bladder when going to the bathroom
â€¢ Try to urinate on a schedule every day, whether or not you feel you have to go
â€¢ Stop drinking liquids after 8 pm to prevent the urges to urinate at night
â€¢ Limit drinking alcohol
In more serious cases, prostate enlargement can stop urination and lead to worse problems like renal failure. These require immediate treatment. Hence, if you have symptoms, it is of great value to get a complete diagnosis and learn what you can do to get relief.