The male reproductive system is very complex and it is important for every man to fully understand how the different parts involved in this system work together in order to provide them with the functionality required for reproducing and urinating.
The prostate is one particularly important part of the male reproductive system and is required for optimal fertility and for conceiving successfully.
Unfortunately, this particular part of the reproductive system in the male body is prone to developing a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, also sometimes called an enlarged prostate, amongst older men.
A better understanding of the prostate and the functions it serves in the reproductive tract is vital for men to know how to reduce their risk of developing conditions affecting their prostate, as well as to help them detect problems that may be present in this part of their bodies.
What is a Prostate?
Our focus in this post is to provide a complete overview of what an enlarged prostate is and what the diagnosis of this condition means for a man, but we would first like to provide a basic overview of the prostate.
This is an essential piece of information that men should be educated about in order to better understand benign prostatic hyperplasia or an enlarged prostate.
The prostate gland is situated beneath the bladder and around the urethra, which is a tube that is responsible for the transfer of urine between the bladder and the penis’s tip. eMedicine Health explains that the prostate gland has a very important purpose infertility; thus problems with the prostate may lead to fertility issues, causing a man to find it more difficult to conceive and become a parent.
This particular gland is responsible for the secretion of seminal fluids – the seminal fluids are mixed with sperm, which is a substance produced within the man’s testicles. The seminal fluid assists by nourishing the sperm and making the transport of sperm toward the tip of the man’s penis easier.
What is an Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate is a very common condition amongst older men. The condition is pretty much self-explanatory – a man diagnosed with this condition, medically referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia, has a prostate that has become enlarged. The condition is known to mostly affect the urinary function of the affected man, but other symptoms may also become present in men diagnosed with this condition.
One very important factor that should be considered when discussed benign prostatic hyperplasia is that this condition is not cancer – even though prostate cancer may cause a similar enlargement of the prostate as observed in men with this condition.
Another important fact to consider, as explained by Medline Plus is that being diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia does not mean a man is at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
What can Cause Enlarged Prostate
The first step to fully understanding what an enlarged prostate is would be to know how it is caused.
One of the most vital facts that men should realize about benign prostatic hyperplasia is that the male prostate gland tends to continuously grow as a man ages – this is why this particular condition is mostly associated with older men, especially those men who have reached the age of 50.
For this reason, it is considered relatively natural for a man to be diagnosed with an enlarged prostate after he has reached the age of 50. At the same time, however, it should be noted that some men may experience a more severe level of enlargement in their prostate gland, which can cause additional symptoms and complications to become present.
Prostate Cancer UK explains that, even though age is the primary risk factor associated with the development of an enlarged prostate, it is important that men understand the fact that a lot is still not fully understood about the specific causes of this condition.
In addition to age being a factor that contributes to this condition, hormone levels also seem to play a part. The imbalance in testosterone and estrogen levels found in the male body over time has also been connected as a possible cause for the prostate gland to increase in size.
Apart from these risk factors that we have discussed, we would also like to mention that some evidence has suggested that men who have been diagnosed with diabetes, as well as men who are at an obese bodyweight, are also considered to be at a higher risk of developing an enlarged prostate – and a more severe case of this condition.
Furthermore, a number of studies have pointed out that genetics may also be a signal to a man’s risk factor of an enlarged prostate – when a man’s brother or father has developed this condition in the past, it seems to put him at a higher risk of developing the condition himself as well.
What are Enlarged Prostate Symptoms and Signs?
Once a man has a thorough understanding about what an enlarged prostate is and why this condition occurs in a lot of men, the next step is to learn more about the symptoms and signs of this condition.
Since the prostate may become as large as a grapefruit in some men, it is essential for men to understand the symptoms associated with the condition and to make an appointment with their doctor as soon as they start to experience these symptoms.
As we have already mentioned previously in this post, the prostate gland surrounds the urethra of the man – a tube that extends from the bladder toward the penis. This is the reason why the very first signs of an enlarged prostate usually tend to occur with the man’s urine function.
The majority of men who develop this condition often finds that their very first symptom that signals the development of the condition seems to be the urge to get up more frequently at night to urinate.
This symptom may start out gradually – perhaps the man needs to get up once every night to urinate. Over time, especially when left unattended to, the man may need to get up more frequently (multiple times every night) to urinate.
Apart from the increase in night-time urination, WebMD explains that numerous other symptoms may also develop amongst men with an enlarged prostate:
- The urinary stream of a man with this condition often tends to be weaker than in a man without an enlarged prostate. The urinary stream may also be slower than what is considered normal.
- Men may find that it becomes harder for them to start urinating when they develop the condition. As their prostate gets larger, initiating urination may gradually become even more difficult.
- After urination, a lot of men with an enlarged prostate find that they have a feeling that they did not completely empty their bladder. This particular symptom is very common amongst the majority of men who suffers from the condition.
- In men without an enlarged prostate, urination usually consists of one continuous stream that stops once their bladder has been emptied.
Men with an enlarged prostate, however, often find that their urine stream tends to start and then stop again frequently during a single urination.
- A lot of men with this condition also find that it is sometimes difficult to urinate; thus causing them to strain during urination.
- In addition to these symptoms, it should also be noted that in some men with an enlarged prostate, urine may continue dribbling after the man has finished urinating.
What are the Possible Complications of an Enlarged Prostate?
The symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate can have several complications in the long run, especially when the man continues to suffer from this condition without seeing a doctor or undergoing any treatment in order to help reduce the symptoms and the severity of the condition and to possibly prevent the prostate from becoming any larger.
Should a man’s bladder not be able to empty properly during urination, the man becomes at a risk of developing infections in his urinary tract. Urinary tract infections can cause dangerous complications, especially when they are not treated in a timely manner.
In addition to the increase in the risk of obtaining a urinary tract infection that comes as a complication of an enlarged prostate, it should be known that other potential complications can also occur. Some of these complications include acute urinary retention, blood that becomes present in the man’s urine, incontinence and bladder stones.
What is the Best Treatment for Enlarged Prostate?
Obtaining treatment as soon as the symptoms of an enlarged prostate become present is vital. This will allow for a more successful outlook for the patient and also may assist with preventing the further enlargement of the man’s prostate.
There are a variety of treatment options that may be provided to a man after he has been diagnosed with this particular condition. The specific treatment options that will be provided to a patient following their diagnosis will depend on various factors – including their age, current health status and how severe their condition is.
According to the NHS, a lot of men are able to benefit from some lifestyle changes. There are numerous lifestyle changes that may be implemented in order to reduce the severity of the symptoms a man is experiencing due to an enlarged prostate.
One of the most important lifestyle changes that a man can make is to avoid the consumption of sugary beverages and foods. Alcohol consumption should also be limited as much as possible in order to reduce the symptoms that the man may be experiencing.
There are some other lifestyle changes that can also be useful. Avoiding the consumption of any beverages before going to bed is important as this may help to reduce the urge to urinate during the night.
Eating foods that are high in fiber can also be useful, as well as remembering to completely empty the bladder prior to going to the bathroom or prior to starting a journey where a load of traveling will be involved.
There are some bladder training exercises that can be utilized in order to help improve bladder control and to assist with reducing the severity of certain urinary symptoms that a man is experiencing when he is suffering from an enlarged prostate.
There are numerous sources where such bladder training programs can be downloaded – a lot of men have found that these particular exercises are useful for improving the particular symptoms they are experiencing.
Apart from these options that we have pointed out above, we should also mention that a doctor may prescribe some medications to assist with the management of the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.
Some of the pharmaceutical drugs that can be provided to a man diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia include:
- Alpha Blockers – A relatively common medicine provided to men diagnosed with this condition. The purpose of this particular medicine is to help the muscle found in the prostate gland to relax. This makes it easier for the man utilizing the medicine to urinate. Some of the most common alpha blockers offered to men include Alfuzosin and Tamsulosin.
- Diuretics – This type of medication is used to assist with speeding up the production of urination. In turn, this allows the patient to pass an adequate amount of urine during the day; thus reducing the need for urinating during the night.
- 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors – These medicines are able to help reduce the size of the man’s prostate if his prostate gland has been enlarged considerably. The only two options for this particular medication currently available include Dutasteride and Finasteride.
- Desmopressin – This particular type of medication is usually taken at night. It is used to reduce the production of urine while the man is sleeping.
- Anticholinergics – Another type of medication that can be provided to men who have a bladder muscle that seems to be overactive.
Can You Shrink an Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate does not only cause symptoms related to a man’s urinary function, but can also a significant level of discomfort for the patient suffering from the condition.
This causes a need for methods that can be utilized to reduce the size of the prostate when it has become enlarged – especially in cases where the discomfort caused by the enlargement of the man’s prostate seem to be significant and are affecting his daily life.
There are, fortunately, numerous options that may assist with shrinking the size of the man’s enlarged prostate.
At the moment, when looking at a pharmaceutical approach to assisting with shrinking the prostate gland’s size, there is a very limited number of options available.
At the moment, the only medication that can be provided to a man whose prostate size is having a significant effect on his urine function and overall level of comfort is 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors.
As mentioned previously, there are currently only two types of 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors available, including Finasteride and Dutasteride.
Fortunately, there are numerous methods that can be utilized to reduce the size of the prostate gland without turning toward pharmaceutical options. According to Prostate.net, exercising on a regular basis is very important.
In addition to being able to assist with reducing the size of an enlarged prostate, exercise is also able to act as a preventative method for this particular condition in the first place. It is important to include both resistance-based exercises and aerobic exercise for the best results.
Individuals who are obese should also try to lose some weight. This can usually be achieved by adopting a healthy diet and through frequent exercising. Excess weight in the human body contributes to chronic inflammation and also causes an increase in the production of estrogen, which can both cause an increase in the size of the prostate gland.
What Foods are Good for Enlarged Prostate?
The diet of a man can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of his prostate. Certain foods can lead to higher levels of inflammation and also cause the prostate to further increase in size.
There are also many foods that can help to reduce inflammation in the male body and also assist with shrinking an enlarged prostate. Everyday Health explains that there are numerous superfoods that can help to reduce the symptoms a man is experiencing when he has been diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Some of these particular foods include Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Nuts, Beans, and Watermelon. Drinking green tea is also an excellent beverage for reducing inflammation and improving the health of the prostate, primarily due to the high antioxidant content contained within this particular tea.
Fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids should also be included in a man’s diet should they be suffering from an enlarged prostate, as omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to improvements in prostate health and may also assist with relieving inflammation that might be present in the man’s prostate.
Can Enlarged Prostate Cause Problems with Ejaculation?
When a man is diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, the first question they may have regarding their newly diagnosed condition is whether their enlarged prostate will cause problems with their sex life – since the prostate gland is responsible for secreting seminal fluid, a lot of men want to know whether they may experience issues with their ejaculation due to the condition they have developed.
According to Healthline, the connection between an enlarged prostate and sexual dysfunctions is quite complicated.
They explain that, when looking at the symptoms, one of these conditions causes problems with a man’s abilities in the bathroom, while urinating to be more specific, and the other is a series of conditions that cause problems with the man’s abilities during sexual intercourse.
Still, however, a connection between these two does exist and men should be aware of this particular connection.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is not known to directly cause a man to experience erectile dysfunction or any other type of sexual disorder. The problem comes with the treatment options that are utilized to treat men diagnosed with an enlarged prostate.
There are a variety of treatment options available for these men – and some of these medications and treatment options can cause a man to experience erectile dysfunction as a side-effect.
Some of these drugs can also lead to other sexual dysfunctions as a side-effect, such as delayed ejaculation, inhibited ejaculation, premature ejaculation or a low libido.
It should be noted that, while the treatments available to assist with improving the symptoms caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia can lead to sexual-related side-effects, it has been found that treatment options used to assist men in improving their erectile function should they develop erectile dysfunction may improve the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
The prostate is an important part of the reproduction function in the male body. The prostate secretes seminal fluid, which is mixed with sperm prior to the secretion of the substance from a man’s penis.
The prostate gland is important in fertility and a variety of complications may occur when this gland becomes enlarged. There are numerous symptoms that a man should look out for and act upon when they start to develop – this will help the man gain an early diagnosis of the problem he may be suffering from.
Early diagnosis and treatment of such problems can often assist with reducing the damage dealt and also possibly prevent further complications from developing. There are different types of treatments available for men diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Men should become educated not only about the symptoms of this condition but also realize the pros and possible risks associated with each of the treatment options that are available to them should they develop an enlarged prostate.
This will allow the man to make a more informed decision as to how they would like to go about treating their condition.
Fortunately, the outlook for men with benign prostatic hyperplasia is usually positive, but it is still important to realize that complications can develop, especially when the condition goes untreated.
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