CHENNAI: As men get older, their body changes beyond control. For most men, one of those changes come with the growing prostate. Aging men tend to have larger prostates than younger men. Enlargement of the prostate which is not a result of cancer is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Incidence of BPH in men increases dramatically after the age of 50.
BPH is also called prostate gland enlargement. Prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) are the most common prostatic diseases. BPH isn’t prostate cancer and having BPH doesn’t make you more likely to get it. The size of your prostate doesn’t necessarily determine the severity of your symptoms. Only a slightly enlarged prostates can have significant urinary symptoms. In some men, symptoms eventually stabilize and might even improve over time.
Issues with urination
According to Dr M G Rajamanickam, Consultant Urologist, Bharathiraja Hospital, “An enlarged prostate directly affects a man’s ability to urinate as there is increased pressure on the bladder or the bladder becomes more irritable – this makes the urge to urinate stronger. Additionally, the bladder cannot empty itself efficiently, meaning that it is not long after going to the toilet that you find yourself having to go again”.
In general, the prevalence of BPH increases with increasing age, the highest prevalence of BPH is found in participants aged 70 and above. Prostatic diseases also deteriorate the quality of life of men.
It has been known for many years that a good night’s sleep of 7-8 hours is important for adults. A disturbed sleep is often equated with insomnia, which is clinically defined as persistent difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep, or non-restorative sleep, that causes prostatitis and BPH.
Deterioration of quality of life may be affected not only by the prostate diseases but also by the sexual dysfunction caused by the prostate diseases secondarily. Sexual dysfunction may also develop as a side effect after treatment of prostate disease; thus, consideration of these points at the time of treatment of prostate disease is essential. Therefore, therapies suitable to each condition should be selected with an understanding of the close association of prostate diseases and associated sexual dysfunction with the quality of life of males.
According to Dr P B Sivaraman, Consultant Urologist, Apollo Hospitals, “In men, the gland does not stop growing throughout their life time. As men age they should get regular prostate screenings to check for BPH/prostate cancer. If you’re having urinary problems, discuss them with your doctor. Even if you don’t find urinary symptoms bothersome, it’s important to identify or rule out any underlying causes. Untreated, urinary problems might lead to obstruction of the urinary tract. It is critical to consult your doctor and it is important to avoid shying away from the issue. Your doctor can help you choose the best care based on your age, health, and how the condition affects you”.
There is also a need to introduce ‘Targeted screening’ or ‘Smart screening’ in India so that prostate cancer can be diagnosed in the early stage itself.
Common signs and symptoms
● Frequent or urgent need to urinate
● Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
● Difficulty starting urination
● Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
● Dribbling at the end of urination
● Inability to completely empty the bladder
● A frequent need to urinate
● A feeling of not emptying the bladder
● Intense urges to urinate
● A weak urine stream
● Lifestyle changes: You may want to start with things you can control. For example, you can: Do exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and maintain healthy
● Lower the amount of fluids you drink, especially before you go out or go to bed
● Drink less caffeine and alcohol
● Medicine: For mild to moderate BPH, your doctor might suggest medicine.