What Is Benign Prostate Hyperplasia?
As men age past 50, many find controlling urination difficult. For 1 in 2 men, the reason is benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). This condition is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. Since the prostate sits next to the bladder and urethra, this sudden growth disrupts urine flow. Most cases are linked to hormonal changes with age, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Over time, BPH can severely impact the quality of life for men.
Common signs and symptoms
With BPH comes several symptoms that men must manage. The most common signs include frequent urination, involuntary leakage, and a weak urine stream. Some men also have trouble starting urination or emptying the bladder. These symptoms can run into the night, causing nocturia and insomnia. Some lifestyle changes and prescribed medication can help manage these changes.
Timing is everything
Men with BPH can cope with these symptoms by making daily adjustments. For instance, using the bathroom at specific times can reduce disruptions from work or social activities. Reducing excess liquids like caffeine and alcohol also prevents frequent urination. Furthermore, emptying the bladder and avoiding liquids at least an hour before bed can help. The right habits will reduce the frequency of BPH-related accidents.
Watch your weight
Overweight men are more likely to have enlarged prostates. Making changes to lose extra pounds can reduce the pressure on the prostate. Researchers have also found connections between types of diets and enlarged prostates. For example, diets high in red meat and dairy increase the hormones that enlarge prostates. Moving to a whole food diet consisting of leafy vegetables, berries, fish, nuts, and citrus fruits can help. These contain the fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants necessary for weight loss and hormone function.
Diet alone is not enough. Adding exercise can significantly increase the ability to manage BPH symptoms. Studies have shown that men who exercise regularly are 30-40% less likely to develop BPH. For men struggling with an enlarged prostate, the type of exercise matters. Pelvic floor exercises target the muscle band that supports the prostate and bladder. A stronger pelvic floor significantly reduces symptoms. Speak with a physical therapist who specializes in incontinence and prostate management.
Think about next steps
Lifestyle changes can help manage the changes in urinary function. However, these changes should be accompanied by sound medical guidance from a urologist. The doctor will often prescribe medication to manage these symptoms. If these changes bring no results, minimally invasive surgery can help. The doctor will refer the patient to a surgeon, who will decide the best course of treatment.