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Health Risks Associated with BPH

Men with an enlarged prostate probably suffer from BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. This noncancerous condition remains the most prevalent benign tumor found in males and occurs more in Western countries. African-American men also are more at risk of developing BPH. In addition, men under the age of 65 who have an extremely enlarged prostate frequently have a family history of this condition. Their relatives were four times more likely to need surgery for this condition, and their brothers’ risks increased sixfold. 

Approximately one in four men shows symptoms of BPH by the age of 55, while 50 percent of 75-year-old men have symptoms. Fortunately, most men don’t need surgery for BPH, although up to 30 percent of men aged 80 and older need treatment. In the past, surgery was the only option for treating BPH. Today, men find they can opt for a minimally invasive procedure that will open the prostatic urethra. In addition, medications help to relieve symptoms in many men by shrinking the prostate or relaxing the muscle tissue that is constricting the urethra. 

Treatment remains essential, however. Failing to treat BPH could lead to severe complications. Men must be aware of the following conditions as they relate to benign prostatic hyperplasia. 

Acute Urinary Retention

When a person finds they suddenly cannot pass urine or completely empty the bladder, they may suffer from acute urinary retention or AUR. Although the bladder fills with urine, the person cannot urinate at all. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) serves as the most common cause of this condition, but it is not the only one. A person may have a spinal cord injury, a urethral stricture, or bladder/urethral stones that interfere with their ability to urinate. Certain medications, vaginal childbirth, and stroke serve as three other potential causes of AUR. 

When a person suffers from AUR, they experience abdominal pain and bloating. Physicians diagnose the problem with the help of a pelvic and abdominal scan, a urodynamic study, or a cystoscopy. Bladder cauterization serves as the most common treatment, as it allows the urine to flow from the body. However, the individual must receive treatment for the underlying condition that led to AUR or the problem will probably recur. A failure to treat AUR could lead to an infection, renal failure, or death. 

Chronic Urinary Retention

Patients with chronic urinary retention have a non-painful bladder that remains palpable after the individual urinates. With this condition, a person cannot completely empty the bladder. They retain the ability to urinate, but some urine remains in the bladder when they do so.

Elderly men remain most at risk of chronic urinary retention, which develops over months or years. As CUR isn’t painful, many men have this condition without knowing it. However, some men find they struggle with suddenly needing to use the bathroom or urinating more frequently. BPH serves as one cause of CUR, which puts a person more at risk of urinary tract infections. In addition, a person with CUR may develop acute urinary retention. 

Bloody Urine

Doctors refer to the presence of blood in a person’s urine as hematuria. When the individual sees this blood in the urine, the doctor diagnoses them with gross hematuria. In this situation, the urine appears brown, red, or pink. Microscopic hematuria, in contrast, is a disorder in which blood in the urine can only be seen with a microscope. Many things bring about hematuria, with BPH being one of them. Treatment for hematuria must begin immediately to ensure the individual doesn’t develop complications from the underlying disorder. 

Urinary Tract Infections

Any infection in the urinary system needs to be a cause of concern. A urinary tract infection or UTI serves as an annoyance and is painful, but a lack of treatment could lead to serious consequences if the infection moves to the kidneys. The symptoms of a UTI vary by which part of the urinary system is involved and may include a high fever, abdominal pain, or burning with urination. Prompt treatment is needed to prevent complications. 

Some patients end up with permanent kidney damage if they have an untreated UTI that worsens. Men may experience urethral narrowing, which can lead to renal failure and other complications. If the infection moves to the kidneys, sepsis becomes a concern, as it can be life-threatening. 

Bladder Stones

When concentrated urine in the bladder crystallizes, bladder stones form. Some stones pass without help, but other bladder stones require a medical procedure to remove them. Men often learn they have bladder stones when they see their doctor about another condition affecting the lower urinary tract. Men suffering from BPH may develop bladder stones, as urine remains trapped in the bladder. However, this serves as only one risk factor, and men should talk to their doctor about treatments to reduce the risk of developing these stones. 

Kidney and Bladder Damage

Untreated BPH may lead to kidney or bladder damage. In severe cases, the male may go into renal failure or develop other serious complications. Fortunately, men have options for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia today. 

Treating BPH 

At one time, surgery served as the only option for treating BPH. The treatment selected depends on the male’s age, their overall health, the prostate size, and symptoms being experienced. For mild cases, doctors often recommend a wait-and-watch approach. Medication benefits those with mild to moderate symptoms of BPH, and a minimally invasive or surgical therapy may be recommended. Options include transurethral resection of the prostate, laser therapy, and open or robot-assisted prostatectomy.

If you have any symptoms of an enlarged prostate, talk to your doctor today. They’ll determine what is going on and recommend a treatment plan that works for you. Help is available, so don’t delay. Your life could depend on prompt treatment. 

About Atlantic Urology Clinics

Atlantic Urology Clinics remains committed to offering the latest in urologic care. Thanks to their training at top medical schools and teaching hospitals in America, the practitioners provide advanced surgical techniques and do so with great skill and proficiency. 

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