Should You Drink Less if You Have BPH?

Man drinking from plastic water bottle while working out

While benign is in the name, it sure doesn’t feel like it to patients suffering from Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). At first, many patients think they may have prostate cancer. They are relieved to learn that most cases of symptomatic lower urinary tract symptoms are not caused by a malignancy but rather this ubiquitous normal part of the aging process. However, BPH only tends to get worse as the cells in the prostate continue to grow. The result is often nocturia, in which the patient wakes for a visit to the bathroom multiple times each night, often causing disrupted sleep and constant daytime fatigue. As such, many patients think that reducing their water intake will solve the issue.

Ultimately, drinking fewer fluids to try to avoid the symptoms of BPH doesn’t work and may be counterproductive. For one, it is critically important that you stay hydrated for continued health. This is not just the health of your urinary system, but every bodily function depends on proper hydration. Even mild dehydration has significant physical and psychological consequences. Further, dehydration can make your lower urinary tract symptoms worse. Lack of fluid intake can cause bladder irritation as the urine is more concentrated. The result? You guessed it! An urge to urinate more frequently. It can also cause significant kidney issues that, once again, can create problematic urinary symptoms.

How You Can Modify Your Drinking Habits

While you should not reduce your water consumption due to the risk of dehydration, there are some drinks you can avoid and tips to regain some lifestyle enjoyment.

First, it’s essential that you reduce your consumption of caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. These drinks are diuretics that, while quenching your thirst, will also cause you to urinate more often. The net effect is that their hydration benefits are partially offset by their diuretic effect. This is good practice, as caffeinated drinks and alcohol do not offer many health benefits.

Second, we suggest you drink water in smaller quantities but more consistently. If you need 64 ounces of water, for example, drinking one 8oz cup at a time over the day is much better for your hydration and your prostate than chugging 16 or even 24 oz at a time. Think quality, not quantity. Remember, you’ll have consumed the same amount at the end of the day, and your body will have time to absorb and hydrate.

We also suggest you avoid drinking too much about an hour or two before any events you must attend that may not have a bathroom readily available. The same goes for bedtime. You have more than enough time over the rest of the day to get adequately hydrated, and those few hours with less water won’t hurt.

One last tip is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet. By cutting out many processed foods, saturated fats, and red meats from your diet, you can increase your overall health, lose some weight, and reduce the presence of pro-inflammatory compounds in your body. While this is not a solution for BPH, it can undoubtedly improve your lifestyle and minimize symptoms.

The Solution

Fortunately, modern technology allows us, as urologists, to offer several minimally invasive and in-office procedures to fight the symptoms of BPH. You will find that choosing between these options can be overwhelming. It’s always essential to visit a men’s health specialist and urologist like Dr. Kapadia to get the appropriate diagnostic testing and understand which procedure may be best for you. For example, we use a very versatile steam-based prostatic cell ablation system called Rezum. This procedure effectively destroys excess tissue with a treatment time of fewer than 10 minutes. Patients can experience significantly improved symptoms within just a few weeks. These in-office therapies are also long-lasting, with data showing they can be effective for up to five or even seven years, at which point they can be repeated, often with similar effectiveness.

There are times when in-office procedures are not the best course of action, and surgical options like transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP are necessary. While more invasive with a longer recovery period, this routine surgery offers patients excellent effectiveness with a good safety profile. Ultimately, when it comes to urinary symptoms, it’s essential to target the root of the problem, and these in-office BPH procedures do just that. New techniques and technology allow for more minimally invasive and convenient treatment options for many urological issues like BPH. And we are thrilled by the exciting, advanced treatments being developed each year. We encourage you to visit our office and schedule a consultation to learn more.

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