Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH), usually referred to as an enlarged prostate, is the swelling of the prostate gland in men of all ages, although typically appearing in men after the age of 50. It's not usually a life-threatening condition (although it can be) but is or can become extremely uncomfortable and bothersome, causing a range of symptoms that can affect daily life. Luckily, there's also a range of treatment options, too, that can easily resolve them with little to no fuss.
Symptoms of BPH
Although doctor's aren't yet completely sure why it occurs, BPH is commonly believed to be linked to hormonal changes later in life and simply part of the aging process in men. Upwards of 40% of men over fifty and 75% of men over seventy suffer from an enlarged prostate, or the swelling of the prostate gland which pushes on the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body), thus affecting their ability to use the toilet in a number of ways. The most common symptom of BPH is the frequent need to use the toilet, causing annoying interruptions to life, work and sleep. Trouble starting or maintaining urination is also a common sign that indicates you may want to speak with your doctor about a potentially enlarged prostate. Those suffering from BPH may also experience dribbling at the end of urination or may have difficulty emptying their bladder, further exasperating their need to go more often.
The amount of enlargement does not necessarily influence the level of severity or the symptoms a patient experiences, but other factors - including cold weather, emotional stress, or physical strain could make their symptoms worse. Certain medications such as testosterone, pain medications, anti-depressants, or water pills can also worsen the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Risks Associated with Benign Prostate Hyperplasia
Most commonly, an enlarged prostate interferes with a person's quality of life through frequent interruptions to their daily activities due to a sudden and intense need to urinate. This can be particularly troublesome when a patient is waking up several times a night to use the toilet, cannot work without constant interruptions, or cannot partake in activities they once enjoyed for fear of being too far from a toilet.
Although not common, in severe cases the prostate can become so enlarged that the urethra becomes completely (or near-completely) blocked, which can have life-threatening consequences. And in extremely rare cases, what is believed to be an enlarged prostate may in fact be early stages of prostate cancer.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, it's always best to speak with your doctor or urologist who will discuss your symptoms with you and perform any necessary tests (urine, physical and/or ultrasound) to confirm a diagnosis and the severity or size of enlargement.
Treating an Enlarged Prostate Gland
Once a diagnosis is made, there are multiple treatment options available to you. Your urologist will help you determine which is right for you based on your symptoms and their severity as well as your lifestyle and personal preferences. Treatment options include watchful waiting, medications and a number of different of surgical options to lift, shrink, or remove excess prostate gland tissue.
Another treatment option is Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE). This procedure, offered at UroCare (part of CardioCare Marbella), is a minimally-invasive and non-surgical option for treating an enlarged prostate. Performed on an out-patient basis, PAE involves threading a small catheter to the arteries supplying the excess blood to the prostate gland that makes it swell. Tiny beads are then inserted into the artery to block the excessive blood flow, effectively causing the enlarged prostate gland to naturally shrink to a smaller size. This revolutionary technology is painless and has no negative side effects. It's also covered by most private health insurance companies.
Treating an Enlarged Prostate at UroCare
At Urocare, our expert urologists are highly trained and skilled in treating an enlarged prostate using a variety of options including Prostate Artery Embolization. We take great care to make you feel comfortable and confident throughout the procedure and use only state-of-the-art technology and world-class medical equipment to ensure you have the best possible experience and outcome when coming to us.
If you want to take back control of your life and learn more about what UroCare can do to help you treat an enlarged prostate, please visit our website or book an appointment to discuss your specific situation and treatment options.
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