The problem of an enlarged prostate is quite common with elderly men. The majority of men over 60 years of age suffer from the issue of an enlarged prostate. Locating the problem is quite simple as most men complain of frequent urination at night. Men who hardly woke up at night had to get up almost two or three times at night for urinating. This is actually the first sign of an enlarged prostate. Apart from this, there are other prominent symptoms like problem beginning a urine stream, dribbling or even leaking. Urologists opine that the problem of enlarged prostate is as natural as greying of hair. The problem becomes when problem of frequent urination makes its way into the daytime routine. It is needless to say that the problem is very annoying. Also, the pressure of urine is such that when it comes, there is no other alternative than going to the washroom.
An enlarged prostate is known by many names. Apart from an enlarged prostate, the other name which is quite commonly known as benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH. There are different kinds of prostate issues, but prostate enlargement is the most commonly reported issue. By the age of 85 years, almost 90% men suffer from the issue of enlarge prostate. There are various kinds of medicines and supplements available that claim to alleviate the problem of an enlarged prostate. Prostate 911 needs special mention in this regard. Made naturally, the product offers great benefits without any kinds of side effects.
The main cause of enlarged prostate
In men, the flow of urine takes place from the bladder through the urethra. When the prostate is enlarged, the flow of urine is blocked through the urethra. Over a period of time, the prostate cells start multiplying gradually and create a kind of enlargement (1). It is this enlargement, which exerts extra pressure on the urethra. Basically the pressure is felt on the “chute”, the opening through which semen and urine come out from the male body.
With the narrowing of the urethra, the urinary bladder has to contract more forcefully so that urine can be passed out through the body successfully. When this keeps on happening over a period of time, the muscles of the bladder gradually become thicker, stronger and highly sensitive in nature. The contraction of the bladder starts even when there is a small volume of urine in the bladder. This is what causes the urge of frequent urination in patients with an enlarged prostate. Over a period of time, the muscles of the bladder are not able to overcome the effect of the urethra which is narrowed. As a result, urine is retained in the bladder and the bladder does not get emptied completely. This retained urine in the bladder leads to various kinds of other health problems in the body.
Symptoms of the enlarged prostate
Some of the most prominent symptoms of an enlarged prostate are as follows:
- Frequent urination initially at night and gradually all throughout the day
- The slow and weak urinary stream
- Difficulty in beginning urination
- A feeling like a bladder is not completely empty
- Feel strain to urinate
- The intermittent urinary stream which starts and stops and starts again
- Urgency to urinate
- Continued dribbling of urine
When the urinary bladder is not empty of the stored urine, there are high chances of developing urinary tract infections. Over the period of time, various other kinds of problems might also emanate including blood in urine, urinary bladder stones, acute urinary retention, and incontinence and so on. If you are not able to urinate at all in spite of trying several times, it is kind of a medical emergency situation and you must get in touch with a doctor immediately for quick treatment.
Treatment options for enlarged prostate
Many people often ignore the symptoms of enlarged prostate and continue their life. When treated initially and at the right time, the problem can be handled to a great extent. If ignored, it can lead to serious issues later. Untreated cases of an enlarged prostate have led to acute urine retention, serious urinary tract infections along with urinary bladder and kidney stones. Kidney damage might also take place in extremely severe cases.
When it comes to treatment options for enlarged prostate, there are two main options – surgery and medications. Which option will be most suitable for a patient will be decided by the urologist by considering many other factors like:
- The size of the prostate
- How much do the symptoms interfere with your life
- Overall health condition of the patient
- Age of the patient
- Any other kind of medical condition that the patient has
Types of medications for enlarged prostate
- Alpha-Blockers – These are probably the most common and popular types of medications used for the treatment of enlarged prostate. The bladder muscle fibers and the bladder neck muscles are relaxed with the help of this medication. When these muscles are relaxed, it is easy to urinate. If you start taking alpha-blockers for the problem of BPH, you will notice that there is an increase in urine flow. Also, there will be no frequent need and urge for urination. The effects of the medicine start showing within 3-4 days of consumption of the drug. Some most common kinds of alpha-blockers include the following:
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors – With this kind of medication, the size of the prostate gland can be reduced as the hormones which affect the growth of the prostate gland are blocked. The two most common and popular kinds of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are Finasteride and Dutasteride. The effects of this class of medication take time to show. You might have to wait for almost 3-6 months for the alleviation of the symptoms.
- Combination of the medicines – It has been seen that when a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor and an alpha-blocker are combined, the results of alleviating the symptoms are far better rather than using any one of the medicines for the treatment of enlarged prostate. The combination therapy is used at a time when the individual medications are not working for the problem. Some of the most common combinations which are prescribed by the majority of doctors are doxazosin and finasteride or tamsulosin and dutasteride. These combinations are mostly available in the form of tablets. Only one tablet is needed which has both the required components.
Minimally invasive surgery for enlarged prostate issues
When drugs are seen to have no effects on the problem of an enlarged prostate, the next step that doctors try is that of minimally invasive surgery. Some minimally invasive surgical procedures include the likes of transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT). This is an outpatient procedure in which microwaves are used for destroying the prostate tissue with heat. However, there is a clear indication that TUMT will not be able to cure the problem of enlarged prostate in any manner. However, it definitely helps in cutting down the frequency of urination and one can also urinate easily. The problem of weak urine flow can also be combated with this surgical procedure. However, complete emptying of the urinary bladder is not possible even after this minimally invasive surgery.
This is also an outpatient procedure, which works for the problem of an enlarged prostate. The full form of TUNA is transurethral needle ablation. In this procedure, a specific region of the prostate gland is burnt with the help of high-frequency radio waves. These radio waves are delivered through twin needles. The urine flow gets much better with this kind of minimally invasive surgery. Other symptoms of BPH are also relieved to a great extent with TUNA treatment. When compared to invasive surgery, this surgery has fewer complications and is easy to perform. The only problem is that in this surgical procedure, there might be a burning sensation as some parts of the prostate are burnt with high-frequency radio waves. For managing these sensations, an anesthetic can be used for blocking the nerves surrounding the prostate.
If the prostate is enlarged to a great extent, neither drugs nor minimally invasive surgical procedures will work. In such cases, surgical procedures have to opt. Laser surgery and open simple prostatectomy are the two main surgical procedures, which can be tried.
There are many small steps that can help in keeping prostate problems at bay. Staying active, doing some pelvic-strengthening exercises, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake and urinating when urge strikes without delaying are some things that can help in avoiding the enlarged prostate issue.