An Enlarged Prostate is Common, But You Shouldn’t Neglect Treatment

An Enlarged Prostate is Common, But You Shouldn’t Neglect Treatment

The prostate gland naturally keeps growing throughout every man’s adult life, but that doesn’t mean it becomes a problem for everyone. Your individual genetics and lifestyle affect how fast the prostate enlarges.

An enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), becomes a problem when you start having symptoms. By the age of 60, half of all men have urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate.

Many men don’t seek treatment at first because their symptoms are mild. But the prostate keeps enlarging, and without treatment, your symptoms get worse and complications can occur.

As specialists in men’s health, our team at Mike Hsieh, MD, encourages you to schedule a consultation at the first sign of prostate problems. 

You may not need treatment in the early stages, but it’s still crucial to identify the cause of your symptoms and monitor the problem to determine when you need intervention to stay healthy.

Urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate

The growing prostate squeezes your urethra, the tube carrying urine from the bladder, through your penis, and out of your body.

The increasing pressure on the urethra restricts your urine flow, leading to the following lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS):

As the prostate keeps enlarging, your bathroom visits become more frequent and a complete urine blockage could develop. Without treatment, you also put yourself at risk for other serious complications.

Complications of untreated BPH

Difficulty urinating is more than an annoying problem that disrupts your days and nights with trips to the bathroom. When an enlarged prostate blocks the urethra, some urine always stays in your bladder. Urine retention leads to the following complications:

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Urine that stays in the bladder creates an environment that encourages bacterial growth and leads to a urinary tract infection. UTIs are not common in men, but when they occur, they’re often difficult to treat, frequently recur, and have the potential to spread. 

A UTI may spread to your kidneys. Without prompt treatment, an ongoing kidney infection can lead to a bodywide infection and cause kidney failure. 

Bladder damage

Urine retention stretches and weakens the muscular bladder wall. Loss of muscle tone makes it harder to urinate — a problem you don’t need in addition to an enlarged prostate.

Bladder stones

Your body eliminates excess minerals through your urine. They normally don’t pose a threat because they dissolve in urine. Problems begin when urine lingers in your bladder, giving the minerals time to crystallize and form stones.

Small bladder stones usually pass through the urethra when you urinate. Larger stones, however,  may irritate your bladder, contribute to UTIs, or block the opening and cause a urine buildup.

Kidney damage

As urine builds up in your bladder, it backs up into your kidneys, resulting in swollen kidneys (hydronephrosis). Hydronephrosis causes the following symptoms:

Without immediate treatment, permanent kidney damage and chronic kidney disease develop.

Don’t wait to seek treatment

The best way to protect your prostate, urinary, and kidney health is to schedule an appointment as soon as you notice symptoms, even if they’re mild.

We provide preventive care and offer many effective treatments for an enlarged prostate, from medications to stop prostate growth to minimally invasive procedures that reduce the pressure on the urethra.

If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, call Mike Hsieh, MD, in La Jolla, California, today or send a message online. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

6 Ways to Improve Your Fertility 

You and your partner are anxious to start or add to your family, so you want to do what you can to boost your fertility. Given that male fertility issues contribute to half of infertility cases, these efforts are a good idea.
4 Common Causes of Low Libido in Men

4 Common Causes of Low Libido in Men

You used to enjoy a healthy and active sex life, but you’re just not feeling it these days. If your interest in sex has plummeted, here are four reasons why this may be happening and what we can do to boost your libido.
Yes, Men get Urinary Tract Infections, Too

Yes, Men get Urinary Tract Infections, Too

Though often thought to be only a women’s problem, urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect men, too. While male UTIs are less common, they’re often more complex, persistent, and difficult to treat.
How to Manage Painful Erections

How to Manage Painful Erections

Painful erections are usually more than a mild inconvenience. Learn what to do once it happens, including how the right treatment can help.
7 Conditions That Impact Male Fertility

7 Conditions That Impact Male Fertility

Of the millions of people who encounter infertility, the problem stems equally from the female side, the male side, and for reasons unknown. If you want to better understand the male piece of the infertility puzzle, read on.