Prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common medical condition in older men. Its occurrence in men under 30 is a rarity. This prostate lies beneath the bladder, and it surrounds the urethra. In case you are unaware of the function of the prostate gland, it does the work of nourishing and protecting the sperm when it travels through the vaginal tract for fertilization during intercourse thus, increasing the chances of pregnancy. The gland, at birth, is of the size of a walnut. With age, the gland grows continuously. In some men, this growth makes the prostate bigger enough to obstruct urine flow, and cause other urinary problems.
What Could Cause Enlarged Prostate?
The period from mid to late 40s, is considered to be the growing period of the prostate gland. The problem of the enlarged prostate gland, according to experts, is triggered by a rapid multiplication of cells in the central portion of the gland. Now, what causes such an episode is yet to be brought under the light of certainty. Although there is no solid evidence, there are assumptions which are strongly related to it. The first speculation is regarding the hormone testosterone and female hormone (estrogen) levels in men. Any abnormal change that occurs in these levels may trigger the condition of prostate gland enlargement in younger and older men. Leaving this aside, some doctors claim that a condition known as hyperplasia that occurs in the gland, may also be one of the causes. While in some cases, the gland may develop an increased sensitivity towards normal levels of hormone, and this may result in the enlargement too.
The symptoms may get worse as men age. Also, the symptoms are not the same for all, and may vary with individuals. Common signs and symptoms include experiencing difficulty in initiating urination, dribbling episodes at the end of each session, and having a weak urine system. Along with these few pronounced symptoms, there may occur increased urgency for urination, increased urination at night, straining while urinating, and incomplete evacuation during urination. As I said, with time, the symptoms of this prostate problem may become worse, and include bladder stones, impaired kidney function, urinary tract infection (UTI) and presence of blood in the urine.
Not every person who has BPH requires treatment. Only when the symptoms become severe or bothersome enough, one can decide to get treated. Treatment options are many, and severity of the symptoms, the enlargement, medical history, and overall health are some factors which help in determining the best treatment for an individual. Most cases can be managed with the use of medications. These may include alpha blockers (muscle relaxants), and 5 alpha reductase inhibitors (aid in shrinking the gland). In some cases, the patient may need to be treated with a combination of the above two medicines depending upon the condition. If administrating medications does not seem promising enough, then doctors may recommend surgery. The main aim of the surgery is to reduce the size of the prostate so that it can relieve the urinary problems the patient is facing. The patient may choose from a wide variety of surgical procedures.
Along with prescribed medications, there are a few self-care measures that can be followed at home. These measures may help deal with the symptoms to some extent. It is better to limit drinks in the evening, especially when it is close to bedtime. Avoid alcoholic drinks, limit decongestants or antihistamines, avoid delaying the urge to go to the toilet, and do regular exercises. Keeping yourself warm also helps in reducing the symptoms. Speaking of natural treatment, some scientists believe that the herb palmetto may show promising results in treating BPH. However, studies conducted for the efficacy of the herb showed inconsistent results thus, further investigation is required.