Prostate enlargement usually happens due to one of two reasons. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate cancer.
What is the prostate?
It is a gland, the size of a walnut, that sits directly below the bladder, in men. The tube from the bladder that empties urine passes through the prostate.
What does it do?
The prostate is a complex gland with no single function. A main function include mixing sperm (from the testicles) with semen (the liquid itself) during ejaculation. Other functions include erectile function.
How does it become enlarged?
Let’s briefly discuss the two main causes. The first is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) which will inevitably happen to every man as they get older. Typically it starts to present when men reach their later years in life and is considered a natural process.
The second is prostate cancer. This is much more serious and involves cancerous cells developing within the prostate. Sometimes these cells can spread to other areas of the body such as the bones. Often difficult to spot but screening with a blood test (prostate specific antigen) can give us an early indicator.
What are the symptoms?
When the prostate enlarges it begins to compress the urethra (the tube passing urine from the bladder). As you can imagine, if this tube is smaller it will have profound effect on passing urine. Men may experience:
– difficulty starting urination
– increased frequency of urination
– incomplete emptying of the bladder
All of which can be troubling in day to day life.
What can be done?
Here we will concentrate on BPH as prostate cancer requires investigation via a specialist.
When the bladder is enlarged there are two things we should do. The first is to open the tube that is being compressed and the second is to reduce the size of the prostate overall. This can be achieved by a combination of medicine that is used together but it is important to note that first improvement with symptoms will take approximately 6 weeks while full improvement may take up to 3-6 months. The key here is perseverance.
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