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Benign prostatic enlargement: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About benign prostatic enlargement

Benign prostatic enlargement refers to enlargement of the prostate which is a small gland found in men. This condition also called ‘benign prostatic hyperplasia’ is usually benign and non-malignant in a majority of cases.

Benign prostatic enlargement: Incidence, age and sex

Benign prostatic enlargement is a relatively common condition encountered in men more than 50 years of age.

Signs and symptoms of benign prostatic enlargement: Diagnosis

The clinical features of benign prostatic enlargement result from compression of urethra by the surrounding prostate gland. The common complaints of affected men are urinary urgency wherein the person may have a sudden need to empty the bladder at once. Increased frequency is noted, especially during night. A weak stream or dribbling of urine are some other features seen in this condition. Some men may experience hesitancy which refers to increased time to begin the flow of urine. Occasionally complete occlusion of urethra may cause inability to pass urine, called urinary retention.

It is very important to remember that prostatic enlargement is neither a cancer nor does it leads to cancer. However it is vital to evaluate the condition to rule out prostate cancer. It is better to consult an urologist who may conduct a detailed physical examination and advice for blood test to measure prostate specific antigen which may help in ruling out cancer. The biopsy of the prostate may be done in which a section of prostate tissue is studied microscopically.

Causes and prevention of benign prostatic enlargement

It lies below the urinary bladder and surrounds the urethra which is a canal through which urine passes from bladder to outside. Thus any enlargement of prostate gland may compress the urethra resulting in urinary problems. The exact cause of benign prostatic enlargement is not clearly understood but it is considered that imbalance of testosterone and oestrogen level in aging men may predispose them to this condition.

Benign prostatic enlargement: Complications

Long standing enlargement of the prostate gland may result in urethral obstruction and gradual loss of bladder function. Urinary infections or stones may be seen as a result of pooling of residual urine in bladder. Moreover backpressure of urine may result in bladder or kidney damage in the future. Urinary incontinence, inability to control urine may also be encountered in some individuals.

Benign prostatic enlargement: Treatment

The treatment of benign prostatic enlargement includes medications, lifestyle modifications or surgical correction. In mild cases, certain measures like restriction of fluids at night, and avoiding coffee may help in alleviating the distressing urinary symptoms. Sometimes certain medications may be prescribed which help in shrinking the size of prostate gland. Complications like urinary tract infections may need appropriate antibiotic drugs to eliminate them. Occasionally, increasing intensity and frequency of symptoms may need surgical intervention like trans-urethral resection of prostate (also called TURP) which is the most effective treatment of benign prostatic enlargement.

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