The prostate is a small male gland that’s involved with the reproductive system. Once a man hits the age of 40, it may have grown in size from a walnut to a lemon and, by age 60, to a large apple.
The prostate surrounds a part of the urethra and if it grows in size, it can squeeze the urethra, which may create trouble when it comes to urination. However, these issues seldom occur in men under 50.
If your prostate is enlarged, it’s known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP) and is non-cancerous. Currently there is no way to prevent this problem from occurring. If you have a family history of this problem, your risk increases, as does the passing of time. On the other hand, while it is true that close to 80% of men face this issue, only about 30% of them find the symptoms difficult to handle.
If your prostate is larger than normal, you may notice symptoms such as:
- Urinating more often, especially when trying to sleep.
- Having sudden urges to urinate.
- Struggling to urinate.
- The flow stopping and starting.
- Feeling as though you haven’t fully emptied your bladder once you do urinate.
- Feeling a burning sensation when you urinate.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential that you see your doctor as quickly as possible, because BHP is a disease that progresses unless it is treated. Occasionally it can also cause damage to your bladder or kidneys.
Doctors have several ways to test for prostate problems. A prostate-specific antigen (PGA) blood test measures the level of PSA (a specific protein) being created by your prostate cells.
If your prostate is enlarged and it doesn’t bother you, you may simply need annual check ups to ensure it doesn’t get worse. Your doctor may also suggest changing your lifestyle, especially what you drink at night. Limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine can also help avoid the problem of having to urinate while you are trying to sleep.
You may have to take medications such as alpha-blockers and/or inhibitors that are designed to shrink the prostate. However, the medications may increase the risk of contracting cancer, so you must be careful. If your symptoms are severe and other forms of treatment don’t work, you may require surgery.
As with most health issues, it is essential that you have regular check-ups, regardless of how healthy you feel, because many serious diseases can’t be detected in the early stages without running some tests. Early detection is vital when treating problems, so the sooner you start, the better your chances are of fully recovering or at least leading a relatively normal life.