Posted on: 14 August 2019Share
The urethra, which is a small tube that carries urine out of the bladder, passes through the prostate gland. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that causes the prostate gland to become enlarged, which can lead to urine being blocked from moving along the urethra; this can cause bladder and kidney damage. BPH can affect men of any age, but the elderly population are more prone to developing the condition. Here's an overview of the cause, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for BPH:
Causes And Symptoms
It's not clear why some men develop BPH while others do not, but hormonal changes that occur as part of the aging process are thought to play a role. Additional risk factors include obesity and having a family history of prostate problems.
Early symptoms of BPH include a feeling of urgency to urinate and urinating more frequently during the night. The flow of urine may also start and stop, and as the condition progresses you may experience blood in your urine flow or an inability to empty your bladder, which can cause a urinary tract infection.
Diagnosis And Treatment Options
Your doctor will diagnose BPH by taking details of your symptoms and carrying out a rectal exam with their finger, which allows them to check the size of your prostate. A urine sample can determine if you have a urinary tract infection, and a blood test can check if your kidneys are functioning properly. There's also a blood test to determine if you have raised levels of prostate-specific antigen, which is indicative of an enlarged prostate.
There are a few treatment options available for BPH, and your doctor will recommend a treatment based on the severity of your symptoms and test results. Medication may be prescribed to improve urine flow by relaxing your bladder muscles or to shrink your prostate by suppressing certain hormones.
Alternatively, your doctor may suggest laser prostate surgery to remove some prostate tissue. This type of surgery is minimally invasive and uses a tiny laser inserted through the urethra to destroy any prostate tissue that's blocking the flow of urine. Laser surgery can be carried out as a day-case procedure and any removed tissue can be analysed for the presence of bacteria or cancerous cells.
BPH tends to be easier to treat when caught early, so if you have any of the symptoms associated with BPH, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.