When older men, especially those older than 60, begin to experience trouble urinating, there are a number of conditions which could explain their issues. One such cause could be benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a result of an enlarged prostate.

What Is Your Prostate?

The prostate is a small gland that is a crucial part of the male reproductive system. It’s small, about the size of an apricot, and weighs only one ounce. The main function of the prostate is creating fluids that are part of semen, keeping sperm alive and releasing during ejaculation. It is located just in front of the rectum and below the bladder.

What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?

The prostate surrounds the urethra, which is the small tube that carries urine from the bladder through the penis in order to urinate. As men get older, it becomes more common that the prostate becomes enlarged. This may come as a result of changes in hormones due to aging. When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can place pressure on the urethra, causing  urine flow to be blocked or slowed down. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It’s a very common condition, with more than 40 percent of men in the US over age 50 and 80 percent of men over age 70 affected by it. BPH is a non-cancerous condition and is generally harmless if treated properly. If it is ignored, it can cause permanent bladder damage as well as a decrease in quality of life. While BPH might exhibit similar symptoms to prostate cancer, it is not linked.

What Are The Symptoms Of BPH?

Most symptoms of BPH affect urination. These issues can include trouble starting to urinate, frequent urination especially at night, a feeling that the bladder isn’t fully emptied, a strong or sudden need to urinate, the need to push or strain in order to urinate, and a weak or slow urine stream. BPH can lead to a weak bladder, kidney infections, or a complete block of urine flow.

Can BPH Be Treated?

Currently, BPH cannot be cured, but it can be treated and managed. Men with mild symptoms may choose to continue to be observed by their doctor, not taking active measures unless their symptoms change drastically or they start to experience a diminished quality of life. For others with more serious symptoms, there are medications and procedures that can be done in order to either shrink their prostate or help the muscles surrounding the prostate relax, letting urine flow more freely.

The UroLift® System is available through Mississippi Urology Clinic. This is a minimally invasive option which lifts the enlarged prostate tissue, alleviating the pressure on the urethra. The small, permanent implant is placed, holding the tissue out of the way, which allows for regular and unobstructed urine flow. It does not affect sexual function and has a short recovery time.

How Is BPH diagnosed? 

BPH is typically diagnosed through a rectal exam, a urine flow study, an ultrasound, or cystoscopy. If you’re experiencing trouble urinating, you should make an appointment with Mississippi Urology Clinic today.