With age comes the onset of many new medical conditions, and for most men, enlarged prostate is one of those changes. Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlarged prostate occurs when the prostate gland, which surrounds the urethra, begins to grow larger.
An enlarged prostate can be uncomfortable. When the prostate expands, fluid has trouble passing through the urethra out of the body. However, an enlarged prostate is a benign condition that does not increase the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
Symptoms of enlarged prostate
If you have an enlarged prostate, you may notice symptoms including:
- Blood in the urine
- Delayed start when trying to urinate
- Dribbling stream at the end of urination
- Frequent urination during the night
- Inability to completely empty bladder
- Pain when urinating
- Straining when trying to urinate
- Sudden and urgent need to urinate
- Inability to urinate
- Weak urine stream
Risk factors for enlarged prostate
While the exact cause of enlarged prostate is unknown, certain variables may account for the development of the condition.
Age is a key factor in the likelihood that you will experience an enlarged prostate. In fact, if you live long enough, you will probably experience the condition later in life, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. An estimated 90% of men older than the age of 80 have an enlarged prostate.
Hormones may also play a role in an enlarged prostate. If you already had an enlarged prostate and had your testicles removed, your prostate will become smaller.
Diagnosis of enlarged prostate
Your doctor may perform a digital rectal exam to feel the prostate gland. Your doctor may also recommend other tests, including:
- Pressure-flow studies to assess the level of pressure in your bladder during urination
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to detect possible prostate cancer
- Urinalysis to detect infection
Treatment for enlarged prostate
MultiCare Urology specialists have access to a variety of treatments to manage an enlarged prostate. Depending on severity of symptoms, your doctor may first elect to wait and watch how the condition progresses. They may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine, consuming fluids slowly, exercising regularly and minimizing stress.
If more aggressive treatment is needed, your doctor may recommend one of the following clinical options:
- Prostatic urethral lift (UroLift®) — During this therapy, a surgeon lifts the prostate tissue away from the urethra and secures it in a position that allows urine to pass through the newly cleared space.
- Transurethral resection of the prostate — Considered the gold standard for managing BPH, this therapy involves removing tissue inside the prostate. This removal clears a path through which urine may pass out of the body.
- Transurethral vaporization of the prostate — This therapy harnesses the power of bipolar plasma energy to transform prostate tissue into vapor. This technique also creates a channel for the passage of urine.
- Water vapor thermal therapy (Rezūm) — This therapy involves injecting steam into the prostate to eliminate tissue that is obstructing the urethra.
Follow-up care for enlarged prostate
After treatment, you may need to take medication that will prevent symptoms from coming back or worsening. You may also need multiple courses of treatment to manage symptoms.