Dr. Nathan Grunewald: One of the more common urologic conditions that men have is something called BPH, which is benign prostatic hyperplasia.
It's a fairly common condition. Half of men who are age 51 to 60 will have some element of BPH.
Symptoms associated with it, oftentimes are related to the obstructing process of the enlarged prostate and how that affects your bladder. And so what men tend to notice is a decreased force of stream. Maybe they find themselves going to the bathroom, it takes them much longer to urinate than it used to. Sometimes they have trouble getting their flow started. Sometimes men find that they go to the bathroom and then they have to come back a couple of minutes later because they still feel like they're full and they haven't completely emptied.
All of those symptoms are kind of common for a man who has an enlarged prostate, also known as BPH.
If you live long enough, any man's probably going to have an enlarged prostate that may actually be causing symptoms.
The prostate really undergoes two growth phases during a man's life. One is in adolescence during puberty and the second one tends to happen maybe in their mid-twenties. And the second one, once it starts is kind of an ongoing process as men age.
So as a prostate enlarges, it may narrow the tube that a man has to pee through, which goes right through their prostate. The prostate has some muscle in it and as men get older, we have found that sometimes that muscle tone is a little stronger and it doesn't relax quite as well.
So that's part of where therapy comes into play has to do with both the enlargement of the prostate, but also the increased tone of the muscle in the prostate.
It's not uncommon for many men to believe that it is part of the normal aging process, that their urinary stream becomes slower and that's just natural and partly that's true. The older men get, it's not uncommon for that to happen. But it's not necessarily normal to have to live with the inability to urinate easily, a slow stream, having to go to the bathroom often.
In understanding that there are things that we can do to help them improve their urinary symptoms is important to know. You don't have to live with those symptoms. You don't have to be embarrassed by hose symptoms. You can come talk to a urologist and learn what's going on and maybe there's something we can do to help you feel better.
BPH once diagnosed, can be treated a variety of different ways. Sometimes depending on the severity of symptoms, it's just changing how often and how much they're drinking as far as fluids go.
More commonly, medical therapy is utilized and that's essentially taking a pill once a day to really help open up that urine tube to make the flow go through easier.
Sometimes that doesn't work or the symptoms very severe and actual surgery to open up the prostate and the tube is needed.
So while there are many different options for treatment of an enlarged prostate, many men live a happy life just on medical therapy for a number of years. And those are some people though, and it's not uncommon that need to go on to surgery because the medical therapy just doesn't work well enough for them.
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