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Who Are You, Prostate, And Why Are You Enlarged?

Updated: Apr 10

Around the age of 50, many men start suffering from urinary discomfort: having to urinate frequently, waking up at night to go to the bathroom, inability to empty the bladder or weak and discontinuous stream are some examples.

The source of these issues is a small gland named the prostate, which is located underneath the urinary bladder. The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and takes part in producing seminal fluid. In opposing to other organs which usually reach their full size by the age of 20, the prostate continues to grow throughout life. This can eventually lead to partial blockage of the urethra and abovementioned urinary symptoms.

The medical term for this situation is Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or in short BPH.


normal prostate and enlarged prostate

If you experience such symptoms, you’re not alone. About half of 50 year old men are in the same boat. And by the age of 80, the numbers jump to 80% of men.


Causes and implications of enlarged prostate

The causes for benign prostate growth (hyperplasia) are not certain. The leading scientific opinion is that BPH occurs due to hormonal changes men undergo from around age 50 and on.

 

BPH is one of the most common and troublesome health issues for mature men. In its early stages BPH may not affect daily functioning but lack of adequate treatment can lead to poor quality of life or complications requiring medical intervention.

 

When the prostate gland grows disproportionately compared to its location in the male body, partial blockage of the urethra occurs, which in turn affects men’s ability to urinate normally.


For example, the frequency of trips to the bathroom goes up but urination itself is inconsistent or does not empty the bladder. This may affect night sleep as well, and lead to sexual difficulties.

 

An average sized prostate for an adult under 40 is about the size of a walnut and weighs around 30g. An enlarged prostate can reach the size of a tennis ball and weigh around 100g.


Each man’s physiology is unique, however, and the same size might affect various people in different ways. It’s also note worthy that growth can be asymmetrical and may pressure one side more than the other.


And last,

it should be mentioned that an enlarged prostate isn’t always benign, so it’s important to get checked in case it might be malignant.


urge to urinate can be caused by enlarged prostate




How is BPH diagnosed?

Symptoms of BPH include:

  • Frequent need to urinate (including at night)

  • Weak or inconsistent stream

  • Difficulty urinating, or delayed start of urination

  • Inability to empty the bladder

Men who experience some or all of the above should consider visiting an urologist for a thorough exam which usually includes bloodwork, urinalysis and an ultrasound. This assists in defining the patient’s current prostate size and its level of disruption to daily life. A treatment plan can then be devised, with pharmaceutical or by medical intervention and periodic check-ups.  

Not sure if the above applies to you? Try taking our online “brizometer” quiz HERE.


test yourself online with IPSS test


Treatment options for BPH

​There are various types of treatment for BPH:

·        Medical (surgery, non-invasive treatment like laser)

·        Pharmaceutical (medications)

·        Natural (supplements and lifestyle)


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