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Nip benign prostatic hyperplasia in the bud

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  This is for the men out there. Have your washroom visits increased all of a sudden? Does your bladder feel full even after you just emptied it? It’s time you schedule an appointment with your physician. Don’t worry, it’s not cancer. You probably have an enlarged prostate.   

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical term for an enlarged prostate — a condition associated with aging, probably due to hormonal changes. BPH is benign, which means that it is not cancer and does not cause or lead to cancer. However, BPH and cancer can happen at the same time. BPH symptoms can vary from person to person and differ as the condition progresses. The discomfort and complications associated with an enlarged prostate are related to a combination of problems that develop over time. 

There are three factors which may increase the risk of developing BPH: aging, family history (if any immediate blood relative was diagnosed with BPH, you are more likely to develop the condition), and medical conditions such as obesity.

The prostate goes through two main growth periods with age. The first occurs early in puberty when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase of growth begins around age 25 and continues during most of a man’s life. BPH often occurs with the second growth phase. When the prostate is enlarged, it can bother or block the bladder causing Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS), which include frequent urination, feeling that the bladder is full even right after emptying, weak stream of urine, need to start and stop urinating several times, trouble starting to urinate and straining, among others. 

To cope with these symptoms, the patient starts restricting water and other fluid intake and being conscious of his urination, for example, being on the lookout for a toilet wherever he goes, urinating before going on long trips where he might not have access to loos, such as on a long-distance bus journey. These coping strategies further restrict the patient’s quality of life.

It is a very common condition. Half of all men between the ages of 50 and 60 develop it, and by the age of 80, about 90 per cent have BPH. Patients are largely unaware of this condition despite high prevalence rates as they consider it a normal part of ageing. 

Also, there is no known link between BPH and prostate cancer. But, it is important to see that the healthcare provider figures out the cause of the symptoms. Often, men change their daily routines to accommodate their symptoms, instead of finding ways to live their life without interruptions.

(Dr C Ravinder Reddy, consultant urologist, ESI Hospital)

Tweak your lifestyle 

  • Stay active 
  • Try to empty your bladder when going to the bathroom
  • Try to urinate on a schedule every day, whether or not you feel you have to go
  • Stop drinking liquids after 8 pm 
  • Limit alcohol consumption

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