Enlarged Prostate

by Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

Are you aware that some organs grow with age? Such is the case with prostate. Enlarged Prostate also known as Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition common to men as they get older. It involves an increase in the amount of organic tissues that result from excessive growth of the stromal 

and epithelial cells. This increase could lead to gross enlargement of the prostate and can cause urinary problems.

Enlarged prostate presses hard on the urethra; this increases the resistance to urine flow which in turn increases the workload on the bladder. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder through the prostate to the penis.

The symptoms of BPH vary with individuals but may tend to worsen over time. Symptoms are not restricted to BPH as some other health conditions may display some similar symptoms. However, lower urinary tract symptoms and bladder obstruction complications may arise. They include

·         Frequency and urgency to urinate

·         Straining while urinating

·         Feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder

·         Difficulty initiating the urinary stream  

·         Etc

Less common symptoms include inability to urinate, blood in urine and urinary tract infection. Acute or chronic urine retention may also arise leading to formation of bladder stones or infections. Chronic urinary retention can progress to renal failure. Not all men with enlarged prostate have significant symptoms; some with slightly enlarged prostate however, may experience these symptoms. The causes of BPH are not clearly known; it may be due to changes in balance of sex hormones as men age1. Symptomatic BPH vary dramatically depending on lifestyle. Lifestyle changes such as being active, cut down on caffeine and alcohol intake, a healthy diet, urinating and urinating again will improve symptoms

Several tests are used in the diagnosis of BPH. Such tests are the digital rectal exam, prostate specific antigen test, ultrasounds and urine test.

  Treatment of enlarged prostate is dependent on its symptoms and size of the prostate. Several treatments are available, they include medications, minimally invasive therapies (such as high-intensity ultrasonographic energy therapy, laser treatment etc) and surgeries. Complications that may arise from minimally invasive therapies or surgery include: urinary tract infections, bleeding, erectile dysfunction etc. Some herbal mixtures have shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of BPH. Saw palmettos, pumpkin seeds, Africanum pygeum amongst others have been effective.




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