You may be nervous to learn that you have an enlarged prostate, but the truth is, you very likely don’t have anything to worry about. Nearly all men experience prostate enlargement as they age, and an enlarged prostate doesn’t mean you have prostate cancer or that you have a higher chance of getting it.
It simply means you have an extremely common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Dr. Alex Lesani and the rest of us at his practice in Las Vegas understand your nervousness if you’ve noticed the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, but in most cases, a quick check-up and perhaps a few, noninvasive treatments are all you need to start feeling better.
What is the prostate and how does it become enlarged?
The prostate is a gland that sits between the penis and the bladder and is about the size of a walnut. The prostate’s job is to secrete a fluid that is ejected with the sperm during ejaculation. This fluid, called the seminal fluid, keeps the sperm safe and also provides it with nutrients.
Over time, the prostate enlarges as men grow older. According to the National Library of Medicine, doctors and scientists don’t know exactly why this happens, but it probably has something to do with the way the cells in the testicles change as we age. Some of the common symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
- Difficulty urinating or straining while urinating
- Dribbling after urination
- Urinary retention or an inability to urinate
- The need to get up and urinate several times a night
- Inability to empty the bladder completely when urinating
Generally, these are the more common symptoms, although some men experience incontinence, bloody urination, or painful urination, which can be signs that more intensive treatment could be necessary.
Do I need treatment for an enlarged prostate?
Yes and no. Not every man requires a doctor’s treatment for this condition, partly because it is so common and partly because it can create symptoms so mild that treatment isn’t needed. Some of the best ways to deal with this condition is to practice at-home care, such as
- Urinating whenever you get the urge, rather than holding it in
- Reducing stressful feelings that could lead to more frequent urination
- Avoiding drinking too much at once, drinking caffeinated beverages, or drinking alcohol
- Exercising often and eating right
- Performing Kegel exercises
All of these at-home remedies can be extremely helpful if your symptoms are mild and you don’t need additional treatment. However, some men experience much more severe symptoms, such as the inability to urinate or extreme difficulty with urination. For this, medications like alpha-1 blockers, dutasteride, and finasteride can be helpful options.
Some men may need to be treated with a course of antibiotics if the prostate becomes inflamed.
Alternative options like saw palmetto can also be effective for minimizing symptoms. In some rare cases, a man may need surgery if he is experiencing incontinence, bladder stones, or blood in the urine.
What does my enlarged prostate mean?
It doesn’t mean anything. You are just growing older and dealing with some of the same issues most men likely deal with in their lifetime. However, it’s still important to be examined by a doctor in order to ensure that your prostate is healthy and that you aren’t experiencing any severe symptoms that could be easily treated with medication or another remedy.
Dr. Lesani is always happy to answer questions from his patients and to help them learn more about the changes they experience as they age. Call 702-470-2579 for our Sunset Road office or 702-529-4651 for our Smoke Ranch Road office. You can also book an appointment on our website today.