Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Information
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is really a long winded way to say enlarged prostate. Men who experience large prostates generally tend to link this condition with prostate cancer. The truth is, many men who suffer from an enlarged prostate are likely experiencing prostate cancer, however, most men are not. Middle aged to elderly men usually experience an enlarging of the prostate, very few men under 45 experience this condition. The prostate itself does not necessarily enlarge, but nodules within the prostate are the reason for the enlargement. Men will often experience a difficulty urinating due to the obstruction the enlargement of the prostate creates against the urethra. A partial or complete blockage is possible, creating difficult urinating circumstances.
Because the bladder can not completely empty due to the obstruction, many men will find that they need to urinate often and regularly, finding no relief from their attempts. It may take a long time for a man to build up his stream enough to even partially drain the bladder. Urinary retention is a common symptom, one that usually drives men to see their urologist or family physician.
Patients often get concerned because their blood work is likely to show elevated levels of prostate specific antigens, this alone is not an indication of prostate cancer. It can simply be the result of inflammation and even urinary tract infections brought about by the inability to release enough urine. In rare cases, an additional shunt may be necessary to help release the urine flow and relieve discomfort.
Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia fall into one of two categories, either irritative or obstructive. Obstructive symptoms, as the name implies, means that the obstruction caused by the enlargement of the prostate is likely to completely interfere with urine release. Irritative symptoms, again as the name implies, means that the symptoms have not completely disrupted the flow of urine, but are life affecting enough to seek medical care.
The International Prostate Symptom Scoring System can allow a physician to determine the level of the problem with a simple questionnaire. Usually, if men accurately fill out the questions with reliable answers, a physician can know immediately how to relieve the symptoms without further testing. Testing will likely be done, however, to rule out other possibilities, including prostate cancer.
Testosterone plays a vital role in the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia. While testosterone and other hormones do not actually cause the condition, they must be maintained at a certain level in order for the development of the condition.
A rectal examination is part of the diagnostic process, along with blood work and a physical examination. Additionally, patients complaints go a long way in determining the depths and likelihood of an enlarged prostate. These tests and a thorough work up can also play a vital role in early detection of prostate cancer, should that be relevant. Every man should adhere to the protocol despite the low statistics. Just because most cases do not turn out to be prostate cancer doesn’t mean that all precautions shouldn’t be taken.
In the United States, more than 50% of men between the ages of 50 and 60 have experienced an enlarged prostate. By the time American men reach the ages of 70 through 90, the statistics are a staggering 90%. There is still much research to be done to determine why American men are so much more likely to experience this syndrome than other men world wide, where the statistics dwindle to about 50% for men between the ages of 70 and 90.
Patients should be encouraged to decrease fluids throughout the day and especially at bed time (after 6 pm) to help them rest more comfortably through the night. Night time urination can become a major sleep disruption, leaving men feeling fatigued and exhausted when they can’t sleep more than a few hours during the night.
There are numerous medications available to help shrink the prostate back to its normal size and to help alleviate the symptoms that are most bothersome. In some instances, surgical reduction is the only form of relief available. Patients experiencing surgical options should weigh their options carefully, as most physicians will recommend trial medication periods prior to surgery.
Some men who experience enlarged prostate also simultaneously experience erectile dysfunction. It is not uncommon for each problem to be intertwined, as hormones playa vital role in each and hormone levels change drastically during either condition. Patients experiencing both should allow for an honest evaluation from their urologist of physician.