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Enlarged Prostate And Urinary Tract Issues

Understanding BPH

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that produces semen, the fluid that transports sperm and is located below the bladder and surrounding the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). BPH is a common, non-cancerous condition in men where the prostate gland becomes enlarged. An enlarged prostate can constrict the urethra and cause a wide variety of symptoms
including frequent urination or difficulty urinating.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) data states that more than 50% of men in their 60’s and as many as 90% in their 70’s and 80’s have some symptoms of BPH.

The common signs and symptoms of BPH include:

  • An often recurring, sudden urge to urinate.
  • An increase in frequency of urination – especially at night.
  • A weak or interrupted urinary stream.
  • Difficulty starting and stopping urination.
  • Dribbling or leaking of urine.
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder.

Diagnosing BPH

Diagnosing BPH is often initially done through a routine digital rectal exam (DRE). Additionally, we also order a common blood test known as PSA (prostate specific antigen) to explore and rule out other causes for these symptoms including prostatitis (infection of the prostate) and prostate cancer. In certain cases, we recommend our patients have a cystoscopy. This procedure allows us to see the size of the prostate and evaluate the degree of obstruction.

Treating BPH

Men who have symptomatic BPH will eventually require some medical intervention. BPH can be treated by taking daily medications, however, many men find this to be a burden. Ultimately many patients often find minimally invasive treatment or surgery to be the correct treatment option for them. Such treatments are done in the office or at the same day surgery department and rarely require any admission to the hospital.

Untreated BPH can lead to permanent damage to the bladder or kidneys. I would urge you to take your husband to a urologist for further evaluation and to discuss the treatment options that are best for him.