Updated: Nov 22, 2022
As we age, our body changes due to fluctuations in our hormone levels. One of these changes is that your prostate can become enlarged. While this is typical in men aged 40 years old and above, an abnormally large prostate may also be an indication of a more serious health condition.
Here’s what you need to know about prostate enlargement, so you know when you may need to seek treatment.
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a muscular gland in the male reproductive system. It surrounds your urethra, which is a narrow tube that connects to the bladder that carries both urine and semen out of the body.
Your prostate begins to enlarge at the age of 25, and the enlargement of the prostate is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is considered normal for men as they age, and occurs when the cells in the prostate gland begin to multiply and generate more cells.
In some instances, these additional cells can cause your prostate gland to swell. When this happens, additional pressure is placed on your urethra, and this can reduce or limit your urine flow. Those experiencing BPH are more likely to get urinary tract infections (UTI); it can also cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.
What are the signs and symptoms of BPH?
The symptoms are usually mild at first but they tend to gradually worsen over time. Common signs and symptoms of BPH include:
Sudden urge to pee
Leakage of urine
Nocturia, or the need to frequently pee at night
Weak urinary stream, or the peeing stops and starts
Difficulty starting urination
Dribbling at the end of urination
Inability to completely empty the bladder
Inability to pee
Blood in the urine
What happens if an enlarged prostate is not treated?
If you leave an enlarged prostate untreated, your symptoms may worsen, due to the blockage in your urethra. This can lead to:
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
Chronic or long-lasting urinary retention
Does BPH lead to a higher risk of prostate cancer?
According to research, BPH is not cancerous, and having it doesn't make you more likely to have prostate cancer.
However, symptoms of BPH can sometimes be a warning of more serious illnesses, such as prostate cancer. As such, it’s best to check in with a doctor or specialist if you start experiencing symptoms of BPH or notice any sudden and unusual changes in your body.
How can I manage the symptoms of BPH?
Managing the symptoms starts with your daily habits:
Make healthy lifestyle changes, such as doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and drinking less alcohol and caffeine at nighttime.
Urinate or pee as soon as you feel the urge, and empty your bladder completely when you’re in the bathroom.
Try to reduce your stress level, as nervousness and tension can make you pee more frequently.
Who should I consult for the treatment of BPH?
You can see a men’s health doctor or a urologist for assistance with BPH. A urologist is a medical expert who specialises in treating ailments of the urinary system and the male reproductive system. Your age, overall health status, the size of your prostate, and how BPH affects you will all influence how your doctor approaches your condition.
Think you’re experiencing symptoms of BPH? Make an appointment to see a Urologist on the Doctor Anywhere app for medical help and support.