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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The medical terms used for an enlarged prostate gland are Benign Prostatic Enlargement (BPE) or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). These terms simply means a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.
The prostate gland and its function
The prostate gland is of course associated with men. The prostate gland is generally the size and shape of a walnut. It is located below the bladder and it surrounds the urethra. The urethra is the tube that allows urine and semen to pass through. In simple terms, the main function of the prostate gland is to produce fluid called semen in order to carry the sperm during ejaculation.
The causes of an enlarged prostate
What actually causes the prostate gland to grow (Benign Prostatic Enlargement) is still a debatable question for many doctors. However in light of this, there are two factors that are common in most men.
It seems that age plays a role in prostate enlargement because a greater number of men over fifty have the problem.
Furthermore, it seems as men get older the balance of hormones changes and this seems to play a role in prostate growth also. It also appears that obese men and men with diabetes are at greater risk of prostate enlargement. Some research suggests that if your father or brothers have the condition, then you may develop an enlarged prostate also.
Some symptoms of an enlarged prostate
The prostate gland surrounds the urethra. When the prostate gland grows, it affects the urethra. It narrows and causes the following symptoms: a weak urine flow, needing to urinate more at night, difficulty starting to urinate, needing to rush to the toilet, feeling your bladder has not completely emptied, dribbling urine or blood in your urine.
The complications of an enlarged prostate
Men who have an enlarged prostate may develop acute or chronic urine retention.
Acute urine retention happens suddenly, that is, you will not be able to urinate. This will need to be treated immediately. The treatment for acute urine retention is a catheter. The catheter enables the bladder to drain of urine.
Chronic urine retention develops more slowly than acute retention. Chronic urine retention is when you are unable to empty your bladder. Chronic urine retention can cause bladder infections and weaken the bladder muscle.
Tests that confirm an enlarged prostate
There are different tests your doctor can do. Once he knows of your symptoms, he may ask for a urine and blood test. The blood test checks your PSA – Prostate Specific Antigen. PSA is a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. If you have an enlarged prostate, then your PSA levels will rise accordingly.
Another test your doctor will perform is a digital rectal examination (DRE). This test is uncomfortable; however, it will tell you if your prostate gland is enlarged.
Your GP may send you to a specialist – an urologist. An urologist will test your urine flow – this is a machine that measures your urine flow. The urologist may also examine you with an ultrasound scan. The ultrasound will check to see if you are emptying your bladder or not.
Another test that the urologist may perform is a cystoscopy – a thin tube that is inserted through your penis into the bladder. This thin tube has an eye piece and camera. It can be an uncomfortable procedure but it will definitely tell you if you have an enlarged prostate gland.
The treatments for an enlarged prostate
The treatments for an enlarged prostate (bph treatments) are: lifestyle changes, medicines (conventional or natural) or surgery.
Lifestyle changes may help you heal your prostate. There are several changes you can make, such as, drinking less alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners and fizzy drinks and drinking less in the evening. Furthermore, you can empty your bladder before you go on a long journey. Also you can wait a few minute after you have finished urinating before trying to go again (this is called double voiding), eat more fruit and fibre and learn some bladder retraining techniques.
The main types of conventional medicines for an enlarged prostate are: alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Some men take both as a combination treatment.
There are several natural supplements you can take for an enlarged prostate (bph treatments). Here are two natural supplements for your consideration - Prostate Magic (formula using Chinese herbs) and Prostate Miracle.
Surgery is available for treating an enlarged prostate. These surgeries may include transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP), transurethral vaporisation of the prostate (TUVP), transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) and open prostatectomy.
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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia