Having difficulty urinating? Could it be BPH? Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is the medical term for an enlarged prostate gland. If you are a male over the age of 40 and having uncomfortable changes to your normal urination, this is one of the major symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
Causes of BPH
During puberty, young men experience many physical changes, growing beards, increased muscle strength, and voices deepening. It is during this time that your prostate gland goes through its first growth phase.
Then at age 25 the prostate begins its second growth phase. So when you might expect the tissue in the gland to normally shrink with age, it does the opposite. Age related male hormones actually cause cell growth.
In fact, during the second growth phase, half of men will develop BPH between the ages of 51 and 60.
Common Symptoms of Men With BPH
Most of the symptoms of BPH are related to urination. They include the following:
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Needing to pee frequently at night
- A weak stream
- Needing to strain to begin urinating
- Feeling like you have not emptied your bladder
- Urgent need to pee
Why Does BPH Affect Urination?
The prostate gland begins as the size of a walnut and is located around the urethra, the tube that passes urine. As the prostate begins its second growth phase, it can put pressure on your urethra, limiting the normal stream.
Eventually the gland can grow so large that it restricts urine flow and causes other symptoms as mentioned above. If your symptoms are mild, Dr. Hyman may not recommend treatment immediately. If symptoms increase, treatment is necessary.
Some Consequences of Untreated BPH
Without proper treatment, blockage in the urethra can worsen. It can lead to urinary tract infections, bladder stones, blood in urine, kidney damage due to urine back flow from the bladder up to the kidney, or even the inability to pee, which is a medical emergency.
Treatments include medications to relax the muscles in the prostate to reduce the tension on the urethra, and minimally invasive procedures to relieve the symptoms of BPH.
You don’t have to live with BPH.