Troublesome urinary symptoms due to benign prostate enlargement (BPE or BPH) are a common problem. Over half of men over the age of 50 will have some symptoms due to this condition, and this rises to 70% by the age of 70.
What causes the prostate to enlarge?
The prostate enlarges because of the effects of a hormone called testosterone which is produced by the testicles. This is a normal part of the ageing process but this enlargement can press on and kink the water pipe (urethra). The most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate are:
- Getting up more often at night (nocturia)
- Daytime frequency of urination
- Poor flow and hesitancy passing urine
- Urgency with increasing difficulty holding on
- A feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
How is BPH treated?
Having reassured that there are no signs of prostate cancer, the initial treatment options have traditionally been to make lifestyle changes or to try medication. Surgery typically is reserved for those men with severe symptoms or problems such as retention of urine (a painful inability to pass urine). However, things are now changing as the side-effects of medication have been rather underestimated, and there are some new minimally invasive surgical treatment alternatives. These include laser treatments such as the GreenLight vaporization procedure, as well as Holmium laser enucleation. Furthermore, new procedures which can be performed under local anaesthetic are now available. These include the UroLift procedure (using implants) and Rezum water vapour treatment (using steam).
What are the early warning signs of prostate cancer?
The best way to detect prostate cancer early is to have a PSA blood test which can be performed at your local surgery, clinic or hospital. If you have a family history of prostate cancer or develop urinary symptoms, then for men over the age of 50 (40 if family history and in some cases younger). The blood test helps to detect prostate cancer early before it is too advanced. Also, the PSA blood test result can be useful for future reference and comparison as an upward trend in the reading can suggest prostate cancer developing.
For a PSA blood test, book now with one of our specialists