Aging creates a lot of changes in the human body. For most men, one of those changes is prostate problems. As men age, the prostate gets larger and often leads to a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which affects the ability to urinate normally.
BPH is a common condition in older men. As the prostate grows larger, it squeezes the urethra causing a weak urine stream and numerous trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It also forces the bladder to work harder to push urine through the urethra. In turn, bladder muscles get weaker often leading to sudden urges to urinate, frequent urination (up to eight or more times a day), and incontinence.
An enlarged prostate affects everyone differently. Some men may experience a lot of bothersome symptoms, while others may experience a few milder symptoms. BPH is not prostate cancer, but it can increase your chances of getting it. BPH can lead to urinary tract infections, blood in your urine, bladder stones, bladder damage, and kidney damage. Although BPH creates lifestyle changes for most men, there are many different treatments that can help including medications that relax your prostate and bladder muscles and surgical procedures performed with urology lasers .
If you’re experiencing prostate problems, it’s important to schedule a checkup with your doctor. A physical exam will likely include urine tests to check for infections, blood tests to check for kidney problems, and a screening to check for prostate cancer. In some cases, your doctor may want to do further tests to check your bladder function and a biopsy to rule out prostate cancer. In addition to running tests, your doctor may want you to make some lifestyle changes which include drinking less caffeine and alcohol, drinking fewer liquids before bedtime, and doing exercises that strengthen your pelvic muscles.
Prostate problems in men are common with aging. Over three million people suffer from BPH each year. If you’re experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor about available treatments with medications or urology lasers that can help you get back to a normal, healthier lifestyle.