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Eighty percent of men over the age of 70 suffer from Benign Prostate Hypertrophy, also referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia. They both mean a swollen and enlarged prostate gland. They grow slowly and treatment is effective. And while the disease is typically treated with medication, like finasteride, and radiation or surgery, experts say it can be also be contained by diet and lifestyle modifications.

Frequent urinary urgency and trips to the toilet, and the feeling that the bladder is never completely empty: These are typical complaints in a benign enlarged prostate. They usually occur after the age of 50 and become more common after the age of 70. Many men simply adjust to the complaints and effects of BPH. For some, however, this becomes a heavy burden. Men have to go to the bathroom so often that they do not get enough sleep at night and the sleep disturbances create exhaustion. A benign enlargement of the prostate can be very annoying but is usually harmless.

The Symptoms and Causes of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

In men under 40 years, benign prostate enlargement is rare. Between the ages of 50 and 59, about 20 out of every 100 men are affected. In older age, the typical symptoms are then increasingly common.

When the prostate is significantly enlarged, it presses on the bladder and urethra. This can lead to various complaints:

  • The urge to urinate is more frequent and stronger than before, especially at night.
  • It takes a while for the urine to start.
  • The urinary stream is weaker, and the urination takes longer than before.
  • After urinating urine drips and the bladder does not feel completely empty.

There is not always a direct correlation between the size of the prostate and the severity of the symptoms: Some men with a large enlarged prostate have only a few complaints, others already have a slightly enlarged prostate.

The prostate is found just below the bladder and surrounds part of the urethra. When the prostate grows, you’ll feel pressure on the bladder and muscles. Then urination can already be felt when the bladder is far from filled. The pressure of the prostate on the urethra can simultaneously impede the flow of urine. Most men have mild to moderate discomfort that they can adjust to in their everyday lives. Sometimes the symptoms improve temporarily. However, as a rule, they increase over the years, albeit very slowly.

Is Treatment Necessary for This Problem?

Which treatment is suitable for a benign enlarged prostate depends primarily on how stressful the symptoms are, and whether there are complications. In case of mild discomfort and without complications, it may be sufficient to change the daily routine and some diet changes and continue check-ups about once a year to actively monitor the situation.

About 70 out of every 100 men who seek medical advice about their condition opt for drug treatment to relax the prostate and bladder muscles. There are also various surgical techniques that can be used to remove tissue from the prostate; however, this is used when there is repeated infections and severe discomfort that cannot be alleviated otherwise.

As you age, prostate problems will typically develop gradually over the years. As changes progress slowly, it becomes easier to adjust to them. It is important to keep up-to-date with annual exams for expert advice, as well as talking openly about any problems you may experience.

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Posted by Virginia K. Stockstill

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