Written by William M. Klein, MD Friday, June 12, 2015
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It’s approximately the size of a walnut at normal size and is located just below the bladder. The prostate has two major growth spurts: one that occurs during puberty and the second that happens at age 25 and continues for the remainder of the male lifespan.
What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
According to the Urology Care Foundation, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or an “enlarged prostate” is a common condition that affects 50% of males in their 50s and 90% of males over age 80. The condition occurs when the prostate becomes too enlarged and blocks or irritates the urethra causing frequent urination, especially at night. BPH is a progressive condition that can be controlled by several medications but more severe cases often require surgery to alleviate BPH symptoms.
Some common BPH symptoms to look for include:
- Feeling of a full bladder, even after urinating
- A need to urinate immediately
- Weak, or dribbling urine flow
- Several start and stops during a single urination
- Difficulty starting urination
- A need to push or straining to urinate
What Causes Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
BPH has many underlying causes such as a family history of BPH, obesity, an inactive lifestyle, erectile dysfunction (ED), and a hormonal imbalance of Estrogen and DHT. To prevent BPH from developing it’s important to control these factors as much as possible as you age.
How can I prevent Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
Currently there is very little you can do to prevent the onset of BPH since it’s caused by natural growth of the prostate. However, there are several preventive measures and lifestyle changes you can observe now that will hasten the progression of this common condition, including:
- get a prostate exam and get screened for high levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA)
- have your hormones levels checked since abnormal levels of each have been shown to contribute abnormal prostate growth
- maintain a healthy weight as excess body fat can lead to hormonal imbalances
- observe an active lifestyle with a regular exercise regimen
- perform Kegel exercises to fortify the pelvic-floor to help control urination
- don’t delay urination, urinate when the need arises to avoid placing strain on the bladder
BPH is very common condition and minimizing its impact on your life as you age is possible if you address the issues early. I encourage you to come in for an exam to assess your current prostate health and take the American Urological Association Prostate Quiz on our website to evaluate any enlarged prostate symptoms.