As a man ages, the risk of developing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) increases dramatically. By our advanced years, most men will experience BPH. For some, this can be a minor nuisance, while for others, BPH may represent an impediment to living a normal lifestyle. Treating BPH at its earlier stages allows for better outcomes and reduces the amount of time a patient lives with potentially severe symptoms.
Unfortunately, many men decide that they would sooner modify their lifestyle to minimize the disruption than visit a qualified urologist. They don’t realize that there are incredible advances in urology and BPH treatments that allow for in-office therapies that require only about 10 to 15 minutes of procedural time and may last for five or more years.
In this article, we look forward to giving our patients the top warning signs to look out for and offering some guidance on when to see their urologist for BPH treatment.
Waking up at Night to Urinate
There are times were waking up at night to urinate is very typical, including if you have had a lot of liquid before going to bed. Evenings that involve alcohol or other diuretics may also increase urination at night. These are perfectly normal and may not involve BPH. However, if you see that you wake up at night to urinate more and more often, it may be a sign that your prostate is enlarging. You may also find that you urinate more frequently during the day. Quick tip: It is essential to remain hydrated even if it does cause you to urinate more frequently.
Difficulty starting a urine stream or difficulty maintaining a strong urine stream is a common symptom of BPH. While BPH is benign, as the name suggests, there are also other potential reasons for urinary hesitancy, including scar tissue due to surgery or injury to the urethra, specific medications, and other conditions and diseases. As such, urinary hesitancy should be checked sooner rather than later by an experienced urologist.
Inability to Empty the Bladder
Many men with BPH feel like they haven’t completely emptied their bladder, resulting in dribbling after urination and a sense of fullness of the bladder. For men with BPH, the symptom usually comes on gradually. Therefore, if you have a sudden inability to empty your bladder, you should see your urologist immediately or go to the emergency room. Common non-BPH reasons for urinary retention can include a stricture in the urethra, specific medications, neurological problems, or an infection.
As mentioned above and elsewhere on this website, the treatment for BPH is often stepwise. Improved diet and exercise may also yield improved urine flow for those who do not experience significant lifestyle impairments due to their BPH. Medication such as Flomax can help too. However, the prostate will remain enlarged, and only a curative procedure such as in-office therapies like Rezum can treat it. If the enlargement is particularly stubborn and does not respond to conservative in-office treatments, patients can consider a surgical procedure known as Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP).
No matter your current situation, the first step is to visit a qualified urologist to learn what is causing the urinary issues and what potential treatments are available. We look forward to helping you with your BPH concerns and encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kapadia.