KOCHI: BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. It is a condition associated with ageing and hormonal changes. BPH is benign, meaning it is not cancerous.But BPH and cancer can occur simultaneously. BPH symptoms can vary from person to person and also based on the stage of the illness. The discomfort and complications associated with an enlarged prostate can be due to a combination of problems that develop over them.
The prostate goes through two main growth periods with age. The first occurs during early adolescence when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase begins around 25 years and continues during most of a man’s life. BPH often occurs during the second growth phase. When the prostate is enlarged, it can bother or block the bladder, causing Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS).
Frequent urination, feeling that bladder is full even right after emptying, weak stream of urine, need to start and stop urinating several times, trouble starting urination and straining are common symptoms. To cope with these symptoms, the patient starts restricting water and other fluid intake and being conscious of his urination. These strategies further restrict the patient’s quality of life. In more serious cases, prostate enlargement can stop urination and lead to problems like renal failure.
Surprisingly BPH is a very common condition. Almost half the men aged between 50 and 60 can develop it. By the age of 80, about 90% of men will have BPH. Patients are largely unaware of this condition despite high prevalence rates as they consider it a normal part of ageing. Further, there is no known link between BPH and prostate cancer. But it is important to get your symptoms diagnosed by a certified healthcare provider.
There are many treatments for BPH. You and your doctor will on the best suitable option together. Often, BPH may only require active surveillance (sometimes called watchful waiting). In some cases, medications will be effective and for others, minimally invasive procedures are good choices. And sometimes a combination of treatments work better. The author is a consultant urologist at KIMS Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram
Three factors may increase the risk of developing BPH
Family History - an immediate family member suffering from BPH can increase your chances of getting it
Medical Conditions - research indicates that conditions such as obesity may contribute to BPH.
Simple lifestyle management techniques can also make a huge difference to BPH
Stay active – being inactive can cause problems emptying your bladder
Try to urinate on a schedule every day, whether you feel the need to go or not
Stop drinking liquids after 8pm to prevent the urge to urinate at night
Limit intake of alcohol.