Updated: Sep 26
Most men develop some form of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) as they age. About 70% of men who are up to 60 years old show symptoms of BPH. By the age of 70, this percentage rises to 80%.
If you suspect any prostate problems, you can use the at-home test Prosta-Check, which provides information about the condition of the prostate by measuring the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a gland with the size of a walnut and it is located between the bladder and the penis. Urine flows from the bladder through the prostate to the penis. The tissue inside the prostate continues to grow throughout a man’s whole life, often blocking the flow of urine from the bladder. This tissue growth is called BPH.
What causes BPH?
The degree of prostate growth is related to the balance of a man’s sex hormones. Because it is a natural part of the aging process, preventing BPH is difficult. Dietary changes and supplements have a minimal effect.
What are the symptoms?
As the tissue enlarges, the man may feel that his stream of urine is not as strong as it used to be. In severe cases, he may not be able to urinate at all.
Symptoms can be grouped into two categories:
The stream of urine is weak and the man feels as if he cannot empty his bladder. He may experience trouble starting to urinate, a stream that stops suddenly, and dribbling at the end of urinating.
Blocked urine can irritate the bladder, leading to more frequent urination. This can result in repeatedly waking up at night.
When should you see a doctor?
If your symptoms are getting worse or bothering you, it’s time to make an appointment with your GP, who can refer you to a urologist if necessary.
Symptoms of advanced BPH include urinary tract infections, difficulty or inability to urinate, development of bladder stones, kidney damage, and even permanent bladder damage. It is important to find out if you have any of these conditions.
The first step in the treatment of BPH is making some changes to your everyday life. Those include avoiding bladder irritants such as caffeine and carbonated drinks, preventing overflow incontinence by urinating every three to four hours during the day, and limiting fluid intake before bedtime. Weight loss and physical exercise have also been found to have beneficial effects.