Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate

Tuesday 26 June 2012

As men pass 40 years of age, there's a tendency for their prostate gland to enlarge - a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It's extremely common, and something you have to live with forever if it's mild.

The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut. It's situated just below the bladder, and goes around the urethra (the tube that carries your urine from the bladder out).

What are the functions of prostate?

1) It makes a type of fluid that helps nourish the sperm, comprises 20% to 30% of the semen, and is alkaline (to neutralise the acidity of the vagina).
2) It contains smooth muscles to help expel the semen during ejaculation.

Why does the prostate gland enlarge when men get older?

What happens when a man age is that multiple nodules made out of fibre and soft tissue start to grow in the prostate gland, making the canal of the urethra grow progressively smaller. This is stimulated by testosterone. The urine flow then slowly becomes obstructed, and may cause the bladder to get distended.

In the early stage of prostate enlargement, the bladder muscle becomes thicker and forces urine through narrowed urethra by contracting more powerfully. As a result, the bladder muscle may become more sensitive, causing a need to urinate more often and more suddenly. In extreme cases, the distension of the bladder and back obstruction can spread up to the ureters (the tubes connecting the kidney to the bladder) and even to the kidneys.

In some cases, blockage from prostate enlargement may cause repeated urinary tract infections and gradually result in bladder or kidney damage.

How do you know if you have enlarged prostate gland

  • Tendency to pee more often e.g. waking up frequently during sleep (urinary frequency)
  • Feeling of having to go immediately to the toilet (urinary urgency)
  • Difficulty to urinate (hesitancy)
  • Take a long time to urinate and the stream is interrupted frequently
  • Strain to urinate, which may rupture the urethra and cause bleeding into the urine
  • Complete inability to urinate (urinary retention).

BPH is not a tumor and will not develop into prostate cancer. However, the symptoms of BPH could mimic that of prostate cancer, so it's wise to seek medical attention when such symptoms are experienced.

Big prostates by Dr Y.L.M, Star2, 13 June 2012

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For urinary tract infections, read Probiotics: The Benefits and Special Features
For kidney protection, read Early Symptoms of Kidney Disease