Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common health condition found in men who’ve surpassed 40 years old. It is not the same as prostate cancer, which develops in the peripheral region of the prostate gland. BPH typically forms in the transition region of the prostate gland, an area more toward the center core of it.
Prostate gland enlargement is another name for BPH. A healthy prostate is about 15 grams, but an enlarged prostate resulting from BPH is between 50 and 250 grams. When the prostate gets to be this big, it becomes more difficult for the man to urinate normally. The specific types of urinary difficulties can vary.
For example, a man might experience frequent urination or urinary hesitancy. The latter means the man has trouble starting the urination process when it is needed. Sometimes a man will have to push hard just to release a little bit of urine. It is an uncomfortable experience that can become downright painful.
The worst-case scenario is if the prostate gland grows too large and puts more pressure on the prostate muscles. Once that happens, the urethra becomes too constricted to function correctly. Not only that but the neck of the bladder is restricted too. These are extreme situations that could prevent the flow of urine from leaving the bladder. This condition is known as acute urination retention.
Anyone with acute urination retention should visit the emergency room. The doctor will insert a catheter to help the bladder drain urine out of it. If you don’t have this procedure done quickly, it could lead to infection, renal failure or kidney damage. But the chances are that you will want to seek medical attention as soon as you lose the ability to urinate. The sooner the catheter is installed, the better.
Seeking periodic urologic examinations is essential. A urologist can perform bladder tests on their patients to determine their bladder pressure levels. When a man’s bladder pressure level is high, it usually means their urine flow is limited. The urologist will conduct ultrasound and cystoscopy examinations to ensure that cancer growth is not present. If there is no cancer growth, it is likely going to be BPH.
Most men can avoid surgical treatment if they seek help early. The most common treatments for people with mild cases of BPH are medications. The urologist will recommend medications like alpha-blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, tadalafil, and a combination of the drugs. But if the BPH symptoms are too severe, a minimally invasive surgical procedure will be recommended instead.
Surgical treatment is the best solution for a man with severe urinary tract obstruction, kidney issues, bladder stones, or bloody urine. Urinary tract surgeries come with possible risks and side effects. The urologist informs the patient of all the possible side effects to make sure they understand the pros and cons of getting surgery. The risks and side effects include bleeding, erectile dysfunction, or a urinary tract infection.
The two minimally invasive procedures used to treat BPH are transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT). No matter which procedure you get, it won’t prevent prostate cancer. It is meant to reduce and reverse the symptoms of BPH.
Lessons to Remember
Men who end up with BPH don’t usually develop prostate cancer. However, it is still challenging and uncomfortable for men to live with BPH. The condition can be debilitating and interfere with their daily functions and activities. Most men don’t die from BPH unless it grows too big and causes severe pain and obstruction in the urinary tract. If you see urology treatment early, you don’t have to get to this point.