If you don’t know what your prostate is or what it does, you’re not alone: most men don’t. But you should! More than 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that can negatively affect their quality of life.
As men age, the prostate gland becomes enlarged, resulting in a condition called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is a non-cancerous disorder that may result in a range of uncomfortable symptoms. Over 50% of men in their 60’s and as many as 90% of men age 70 and older have symptoms of BPH.
The symptoms of BPH vary with each individual but may include:
Male urinary symptoms can also be caused by other more serious conditions, such as prostate cancer. It is important to see your doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms and best treatment options.
When you see a urologist, a detailed medical history will be taken. You will also have a physical exam and discuss any changes in urinary habits. Simple tests that measure urine flow and prostate health may be performed, along with a digital rectal exam in order to determine the size of the prostate and whether or not there are any abnormalities. A Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test may be ordered to help rule out prostate cancer.
Your physician will recommend the treatment option most appropriate for your condition, including drug therapy and surgery. Watchful waiting is generally recommended for men with minimal to mild symptoms of BPH along with a yearly examination to monitor those symptoms.
BPH symptoms are often managed with medications such as alpha-blockers, which are the most common treatment prescribed for this disorder. You should be aware of both potential benefits and risks of any drug prescribed.
Surgery is usually performed only in men with major BPH complications, such as frequent urinary tract infections or bladder stones.
It is important to note that there is no link between BPH and prostate cancer. However, it is possible to have both conditions at the same time.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, it is important that you see a qualified physician to evaluate and determine the cause. To find a qualified physician, call Jupiter Medical Center’s Physician Referral Service at (561) 263-5737.