The prostate is a gland located between the penis and the bladder. It secretes a white fluid that makes up approximately one-third of semen, along with sperm. This gland can become inflamed and enlarge as a man ages. When enlarged it can contribute to several health concerns, notably changes in urination habits, but is treatable. Although men are encouraged to get an exam starting at age 50, for some individuals, this may be practical at an earlier age. It is important to have a thorough understanding of how your body works for early detection and appropriate treatment of an enlarged prostate.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
The scientific name for an enlarged prostate is benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). This condition is simply the non-cancerous enlargement of that gland.
The earliest signs include more frequent urination, particularly the need to urinate in the night. Other symptoms may include difficulty starting urination or slight leakage or dribbling. The urge may become more sudden, and it may feel as though the bladder cannot be completely emptied.
Most men wait until symptoms are quite pronounced and interfere with everyday activities before seeing a doctor. Other health conditions—including cancer, diabetes, urinary tract infections, and bladder stones—may have similar symptoms. It is important to seek appropriate medical care when you are experiencing multiple symptoms.
Having a Prostate Exam
Although an exam is generally not necessary until age 50, men may begin experiencing symptoms around age 40 or earlier. At this point, the body is beginning to convert testosterone into DHT, the dihydrotestosterone hormone associated with male pattern baldness and an enlarged prostate.
An exam will include a thorough discussion of your physical and mental symptoms. Often an enlarged prostate is the diagnosis when other conditions are ruled out. The prostate itself can be examined physically by the doctor by inserting a finger into the rectum. Other procedures may include a urine analysis, blood test, or ultrasound. Many of the procedures will depend on a person’s specific symptoms.
Prostate Health and Treatments
When an enlarged prostate is diagnosed, there are many treatment options. Medication can be used when symptoms are annoying but not harmful. In some more extreme cases, surgery may be required. Many men find that their symptoms are not worth the risks associated with each treatment. In these cases, an herbal supplement may be appropriate. ProState is an herbal supplement that includes saw palmetto, which has an anti-microbial and may lessen the nighttime urge to urinate. Some men have found it to be a practical medicine to combine with prescription treatment.
When the urge to go is interfering with your sleep and your daily life, it is important to find an appropriate treatment. Each man’s experience can be different, so it is important to seek a solution that meets your personal needs. There is no reason to suffer this embarrassment in silence, and you can get back to the way you used to feel.