Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as prostate gland enlargement, is among the most common health issues that affect men, a condition that develops gradually, with age.
What Is the Prostate?
The prostate is a small gland in the male reproductive system, located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, partially wrapped around the urethra, the tube through which urine is eliminated. The walnut-sized gland plays a role in the production of semen, providing one of the fluids in its composition and the prostate also plays a role in the process of expelling the semen during ejaculation.
Why Does the Prostate Enlarge?
Prostate enlargement is a natural process that usually takes place very slowly, over the course of many years or even decades. While the cause that triggers the growth process is not fully understood, most experts agree that it is somehow related to the age-related changes in the body that affect the balance of male sex hormones.
The Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
As the prostate grows, the process affects sexual function as well as the way that the urethra functions, the most common symptoms being related to the passing of urine and to sexual activity. The symptoms related to the urinary tract include the frequent or urgent need to urinate, especially during the night, difficulty when starting urination and dripping at the end of urination, a urine stream that is very weak and the inability to empty the bladder completely. In some cases, the enlarged prostate can have an effect on sex life, causing erectile dysfunction or ejaculation issues.
If left untreated, worsening prostate enlargement can lead to complications that are sometimes severe. These complications include the complete inability to urinate, frequent urinary tract infections and bladder damage caused by the inability to empty the bladder completely, the formation of bladder stones and kidney damage that might appear when the bladder infections caused by long-term urinary retention reach the kidneys.
The Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
There are many treatment options available for benign prostatic hyperplasia, early detection being a factor that considerably influences treatment efficiency. Here are some methods:
- Watchful waiting – as it is the case with many conditions that develop slowly, watchful waiting and annual check-ups is the recommended solution for men whose prostate has started growing, but have no symptoms;
- Medications – there are several drugs available for the treatment of prostate enlargement that causes mild to moderate symptoms. Some of these medications act by shrinking the prostate, while others help ease the symptoms. The drugs used usually take long to produce the desired improvement, therefore they need to be taken for a long time;
- Surgery – men who have severe symptoms and who do not react well to medication can undergo surgery. The intervention is today considered to be routine surgery and it involves the transurethral resection of the prostate, in other words, it consists of the trimming of the excess prostate tissue to free the urethra and to eliminate the blockage that leads to the symptoms. Find the best endovascular doctor near me in Fort Collins for procedures.