Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical way of saying that your prostate gland is too large. Unlike other parts of your reproductive anatomy, your prostate continues to grow as you age. And also unlike other parts of your reproductive anatomy, you don’t want it to get too big.
An enlarged prostate causes a range of urinary tract problems that are usually associated with older age, including needing to pee a lot, or not being able to pee much at all. How do you avoid BPH? Or, if you have it, what can you do about it?
Alex Lesani, MD, an expert urologist in Las Vegas, wants your prostate to stay healthy at all stages of life. Here’s what you need to know about BPH.
What BPH is not
First, the good news: BPH is not cancer. And having BPH doesn’t raise your risk for prostate cancer, either.
However, you don’t know for sure whether you have BPH or prostate cancer until a urologist examines your prostate. Depending on your age, Dr. Lesani may also recommend a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to determine your risk for prostate cancer. When your levels of PSA are above a certain amount, you could have prostate cancer.
Although prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, only about one in nine men develop it. If you do have prostate cancer, Dr. Lesani may recommend a watch-and-wait strategy or remove the prostate with surgery. Most men with prostate cancer survive their disease.
BPH is common
In contrast to prostate cancer, almost every man who lives long enough will develop BPH. In fact, 90% of men in their eighties have it. About 8% of men develop BPH in their 30s. You’re most likely to develop BPH if you’re:
- Have a family history of BPH
- Have erectile dysfunction
- Have hormonal imbalances
To make sure your BPH is caught early enough — and to ensure that it’s not prostate cancer — Dr. Lesani recommends annual urologic exams. Early stages of BPH are often asymptomatic. If you do have BPH, you may notice changes, such as:
- Trouble getting urine out
- Urine stops and starts
- Urine dribbles
- Constant urge to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Nighttime urination
When you can’t urinate freely, you may also develop complications of BPH, such as kidney stones, bladder stones, and kidney or urinary tract infections. While BPH by itself is not dangerous, complications such as stones and infections could be life-threatening.
You can prevent BPH
Although you’re more likely to develop BPH as you age, you can prevent BPH or minimize its impact on your life by adopting prostate-health habits and eliminating as many risk factors as possible. Suggestions to improve your prostate health include:
- Lose weight
- Balance your hormones
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits
- Get more exercise
- Limit alcohol
- Eat more fiber
- Strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Limit spicy foods
Dr. Lesani works with you to develop lifestyle changes that you can adopt to improve your prostate health. He also reviews your medications to see if any are contributing to your enlarged prostate. If you’re uncomfortable, or if your symptoms don’t improve, he may recommend medications, laser therapy, or surgery.
To find out if your prostate is healthy, call our helpful Las Vegas, Nevada office staff at 702-470-2579 to set up an appointment. You can also book online.