Sometimes, when you have trouble urinating, It can be concerning. When things stop flowing normally during something as routine as urinating, you may question, “Is this normal?” Is something seriously wrong? Can I do anything about it? Often it can be caused by something called benign prostatic hyperplasia, the medical diagnosis for an enlarged prostate. Getting informed about enlarged prostate can help give you options if you have trouble urinating.

What Is BPH?

BPH stands for benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is the technical term for an abnormal increase of non-cancerous cells in the prostate gland. These extra cells can cause the prostate to enlarge, limiting the flow of urine. BPH is considered a common male condition that is associated with aging—70% of men over age 70 are affected. If you start to experience things like the frequent, sudden urge to urinate, incomplete emptying of your bladder, straining while urinating, or leakage afterward, you might be suffering from BPH. If more serious symptoms occur, like painful urination or blood in the urine, contact your doctor right away as these are cause for concern.

The good news is that BPH is not prostate cancer, and it does not indicate that you will get prostate cancer.

What Causes BPH?

The exact cause of BPH is unknown, and it seems to be most closely associated with aging. Family history of BPH and ethnicity (BPH is less common in Asian men than in Caucasian or African American men) also play a role. However, there are other risk factors you can control that may reduce the likelihood of BPH and/or reduce the severity of its symptoms. One of these is body mass index (BMI); the greater a man’s BMI, the greater his chances of developing BPH. Diet is another risk factor. High-fat diets, especially those that include large amounts of red meat and sugar, can worsen symptoms of BPH.

While you may not be able to prevent BPH, symptoms are treatable, and treating them early can help prevent more serious problems like urinary tract infection, kidney or bladder stones, or not being able to urinate at all.

How to Treat BPH?

Some men experience mild symptoms with BPH that do not require treatment. However, if the symptoms worsen or start to interfere with everyday life, your doctor will likely prescribe a treatment option. One method of treatment is alpha blockers, which help to relax the prostate and help with the flow of urine. There are other medications that can reduce symptoms that your doctor may prescribe in conjunction with an alpha blocker. There are also non-surgical procedures your doctor can do in the office. In more severe cases or when nothing else has worked, your doctor may recommend one of a few surgical options.

There are things that you can do to help reduce symptoms as well. These include pelvic-strengthening exercises, eating a healthy diet that includes vegetables and whole grains and limits saturated fats, reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, and not waiting when you need to urinate. Avoiding decongestants and antihistamines has also been shown to help with symptoms of BPH.

To find out what treatment option is right for you, schedule an appointment with one of our urologists at Mississippi Urology today. We will assess your symptoms and discuss the pros and cons of each option with you in order to make the best decision to fit your needs.