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What Causes BPH and How to Treat It

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It is a small and rather muscular gland. The prostate is located around the urethra and it makes most of the fluid that is found in semen. The prostate’s muscular action works to move the fluid and the semen through a man’s penis when they climax. In some men, the prostate may become enlarged, which can cause symptoms, and as time passes, several complications. While this is true, there are treatment options available.

BPH Explained

When the prostate is enlarged, it is officially called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH for short. An enlarged prostate occurs if the prostate gland’s cells have started to multiply. The extra cells result in the prostate gland swelling, which is going to squeeze the urethra and limit the overall flow of urine.

It is important to note that prostate cancer and BPH are not the same things. Also, BPH does not increase a man’s likelihood of developing cancer. While this is true, it may cause symptoms that impact the quality of a man’s life. This is a condition that is commonly seen in men who are 50 years old or more. It is a good idea to get to know some of the symptoms of BPH to know if someone is dealing with it.

Common Causes of BPH

BPH is considered to be a normal condition of the aging process. In some men, who are older than 80, BPH symptoms appear. While the specific cause of this condition is still unknown, it is believed that the changes that occur in the male sex hormones as a man ages may play a role in the condition. Also, if someone has a family history of prostate issues or any type of abnormalities with their testicles, then it can result in an increased risk of BPH. If a man has had their testicles removed at a younger age, then they will not ever develop BPH.

Symptoms of BPH

BPH symptoms are usually mild in the beginning. However, they can get more serious if they are not treated in a timely manner. Some of the most common symptoms that are seen with this condition include, the need to strain when urinating, incomplete emptying of the bladder, leakage of urine or incontinence, dribbling at the end of the urine stream, nocturia, blood in the urine, painful urination, delayed or slowed urinary stream, the sudden urge to urinate, among others.

If someone notices these symptoms, they should talk to their doctor about them. All of these are treatable and when they are treated, it may help to prevent any type of complications from the condition.

Getting BPH Diagnosed

When a doctor checks a male for BPH, they will begin by conducting a physical exam and by asking the individual about their medical history. Usually, the physical exam will include a rectal examination that will let the doctor estimate the shape and the size of the prostate. There are other tests that may be done as well.

One is a urinalysis. For this, the doctor will check the urine to see if there is any bacteria or blood. Another common test is the prostatic biopsy, which is when a small amount of the prostate tissue is removed and then closely examined for any possible abnormalities. The urodynamic test is when the bladder is filled with liquid through a catheter to measure how much pressure is exerted while urinating. A person’s doctor can let them know about the specific testing they will use and why.

Treatment Options for BPH

The treatment of BPH begins with a careful self-care regimen. If the symptoms do not subside during self-care, surgery or medication may be recommended. A person’s general health and age may also influence the treatment that is prescribed.

The Natural Treatment Options for BPH

Some of the most natural treatments include certain actions or specific lifestyle changes a person can make to help relieve the symptoms of BPH they have experienced. Some of these include urinating as soon as the urge arises, going to the bathroom to use it, even if there is no urge, and avoiding using any type of over-the-counter antihistamine or decongestant medicine. These make it more difficult for the bladder to fully empty.

Some other natural treatments that may be effective include avoiding coffee or alcohol, especially right after dinner. Also, an individual who has been diagnosed with this condition should reduce their stress levels, because nervousness may increase the frequency that they urinate.

Mediation Options for BPH

If lifestyle changes are not enough to help alleviate the symptoms of BPH, then a doctor may recommend a specific type of medication. There are more than a few options that may help to treat BPH symptoms, as well as the condition. Some of these medications are found below.   

Alpha-1 Blockers 

An alpha-1 blocker is a type of medication that will help to relax the prostate and the bladder. They will relax the bladder’s neck, which makes it easier for urine to flow.

Hormone Reduction Medications

Another medication option is hormone reducers. These medications will reduce the total hormones that are produced by the prostate glands, and two of the most commonly prescribed today include finasteride and dutasteride. In some situations, reducing hormone levels will help to make the prostate much smaller, which is going to improve the overall flow of urine. However, these particular medications can also lead to certain, undesirable side effects. This includes things like a decreased sex drive or impotence.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used if a person’s prostate becomes inflamed due to bacterial prostatitis that is caused by BPH. In treating the condition with antibiotics, it is possible to improve the symptoms of BPH and reduce overall inflammation. However, the antibiotics will not help prostatitis or inflammation that is not the result of bacteria.

If someone suspects they are dealing with BPH, they should schedule an appointment with their doctor. Doing so is going to pay off and help ensure that the desired results are achieved, regardless of what type of treatment they decide on.

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