Age changes everything — hair thins and grays, skin dries and wrinkles, and gravity does a number on once-firm flesh. But changes happen on the inside, too, and you may not realize it until you experience clear symptoms. In many men, one of these changes is a growing prostate gland.
Although an enlarged prostate doesn’t necessarily mean cancer, it can mean you’ll suffer from some pretty uncomfortable symptoms until you get it treated.
Dr. James Lee at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia, specializes in men’s health issues and can diagnose and treat your enlarged prostate to relieve your symptoms. Here’s what you need to know.
What the prostate gland does
Deep within your groin area, a gland the size of a pingpong ball rests just below your bladder. In fact, your urethra, the small tube that carries urine from your bladder through and out of your penis, runs through the middle of your prostate gland.
If your prostate changes shape or size, it squeezes the urethra and hinders the flow of urine. Here are some of the other signs you might notice if your prostate becomes enlarged, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
What an enlarged prostate gland feels like
The symptoms that come with an enlarged prostate vary from man to man, but they usually start out mild and get worse over time. Here are a few of the signs you might notice.
- An urgent need to urinate
- Frequent need to urinate
- The need to urinate frequently through the night
- A weak urine stream
- Urination that starts and stops
- Trouble starting to urinate
- Trouble emptying your bladder completely
While these are the most common signs of BPH and are more annoying than medically problematic, a few symptoms require immediate attention, including the inability to urinate and blood in your urine.
What causes an enlarged prostate gland?
The prostate gland continues growing throughout your life, and aging is the main cause of an enlarged prostate. In fact, by the time they’re 60 years old, about 50% of all men will have BHP, and by the time they’re 85, the percentage jumps to 90%.
The direct cause of an enlarged prostate isn’t clear, but certain risk factors increase your chances of suffering symptoms:
- Hormonal changes
- Heart disease
Dr. Lee performs a few tests to diagnose your enlarged prostate, including urine flow, bloodwork, and a rectal exam.
Several variables dictate the best type of treatment. Depending on how large your gland is, your overall health, your age, and your symptoms, Dr. Lee may recommend lifestyle changes, medication, or even minimally invasive surgery.
Without treatment, your enlarged prostate can cause complications, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or damage to your bladder or kidneys.
To avoid those problems and relieve your symptoms, schedule a consultation today. Either call us or use our online booking tool.