An enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a prostate gland that is enlarged beyond its normal size. It typically is the size of a walnut and is located under the bladder and surrounds the urethra. When it is enlarged, it blocks the flow of urine and makes emptying the bladder difficult.
This condition is most often caused by normal aging and cannot be prevented in many instances. As a man grows older, his bladder muscles grow thicker and stronger, thus shrinking its size. The bladder cannot hold as much urine as when the man was younger. The reduced size of the bladder is confounded by the narrowing of the urethra, another condition that typically accompanies an enlarged prostate. The narrowed urethra makes it difficult to empty the bladder and slows the stream of urine. Men with this condition often feel like they have to use the bathroom constantly and might make repeated trips to the restroom all day.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate are hard to miss and often make everyday living extremely difficult. They include:
A weak or slow urine stream
Difficulty emptying the bladder
Problems with starting the flow of urine
An overwhelming urgency to urinate
Getting up frequently at night to use the bathroom
A urine stream that starts and then stops suddenly
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor to be examined for and possibly diagnosed with an enlarged prostate.
Treatments for an Enlarged Prostate
Depending on the severity of your enlarged prostate symptoms, you may be encouraged to undergo any number of treatments for this condition. If your symptoms are relatively minor, you may respond well to medications like alpha blockers and erectile dysfunction medicines.
However, if your symptoms are moderate to severe, you could require surgery. The surgical options include:
Transurethral resection of the prostate
Transurethral incision of the prostate
Transurethral microwave thermotherapy
Transurethral needle ablation
Laser surgery to remove the obstruction and prostate tissue
Robotic-assisted prostatectomy or removal of the prostate
Surgery could relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and make going to the restroom easier.