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Enlarged Prostate

Enlarged Prostate

A common health concern among men as they age is dealing with an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). 

As men get older, the prostate, a walnut-sized gland, tends to enlarge, leading to various health issues. 

These issues can impact the quality of life of many men. However, there are several treatment options out there that can improve this condition.

In this article, we learn about what causes an enlarged prostate, plus symptoms and treatments for this condition. 

What is Enlarged Prostate?

An enlarged prostate occurs when the cells of the prostate gland multiply, increasing its size [1].

But why does this growth happen?

Let’s dive into the general causes[2] of an enlarged prostate:

Causes

1. Age-related factors. As men age, the cells in the prostate start multiplying, causing the gland to enlarge. It’s a natural part of the aging process. Not every man will experience this; however, it’s a common journey for many.

2. Hormonal changes. Changes in hormone levels, especially the balance between testosterone and estrogen, can influence prostate growth. If this balance of hormones is disrupted, it can sometimes lead to the prostate deciding to expand its territory.

3. Family history. Family ties can also play a role. If your father or grandfather has experienced prostate issues, you may have a possible genetic predisposition to this condition[3]. 

Understanding these causes gives us a glimpse into why our prostate decides to shake things up a bit.

It’s not just a random occurrence but a combination of factors that, for many men, is an inherent part of the aging journey.

So, the next time you wonder why your prostate seems to be changing, attribute it to the causes mentioned above.

But fear not. There are ways to manage this phenomenon and maintain a healthy balance. First, let’s learn more about the signs that you may have an enlarged prostate.

Symptoms

So, what’s the fuss about an enlarged prostate?

Let’s delve deeper into the symptoms [4].

1. Frequent urination. If you’re feeling a sudden urge to hit the bathroom every few minutes, you could be living with an enlarged prostate. See if you find yourself making more stops during the day or even waking up at night to use the bathroom.

2. Difficulty in starting and stopping urination. An enlarged prostate can make the muscles around the urethra go a bit haywire. Starting the flow might be a bit tricky, and stopping it could be a challenge.

3. Weak urine stream. Reduced force is a classic symptom. The prostate will affect the flow due to its growth in size. 

It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary in intensity from person to person.

Some might experience mild inconveniences, while others may find them more disruptive. 

The key is to pay attention to your body. If these signals become persistent, it’s time to chat with your doctor.

If your prostate is sending out signals, listen up – it might just need a bit of extra attention and care.

When to Seek Medical Advice

It is important to know when to seek professional guidance regarding an enlarged prostate.

Here are key indicators that should prompt you to schedule a visit to your healthcare provider:

1. Persistent Symptoms. Consult a specialist If the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate persist or worsen over time. Recurring issues might indicate the need for a more in-depth assessment.

2. Discomfort or Pain. Do not ignore discomfort or pain in the pelvic region, lower back, or during urination. These sensations could signal complications or other underlying issues that require medical attention.

3. Blood in Urine. Discovering blood in your urine is never something to brush aside. It could indicate various conditions, including an enlarged prostate or a more serious concern like prostate cancer [5].

4. Impact on Daily Life. Visit a specialist if the symptoms impact your daily life. Managing these symptoms is important for maintaining a good quality of life.

Seeking medical advice earlier versus later can make a huge difference in your health.

If you’ve decided to meet with a medical professional to address your concerns, there are a few different procedures they can perform to learn more about your condition. We’ll cover those in the next section.

Diagnostic Procedures

Understanding what’s going on with your prostate involves a series of tests, some of which may be uncomfortable. A proper examination is essential to fully assess the condition of your prostate.

These tests are needed to:

  • Establishing an accurate diagnosis
  • Recommending treatment strategies
  • Preventing potential complications

Common Tests for Diagnosis

1. Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). The most straightforward procedure is the digital rectal exam [6]. During this exam, your doctor, with a gloved finger, will gently assess the back of your prostate through the rectum.

While it might feel a bit invasive and unpleasant, it provides valuable information about the size and texture of your prostate.

2. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. This blood test measures PSA levels, a protein that is produced by the prostate. Elevated PSA levels can serve as an indicator of potential issues, prompting further investigation [7].

While this is not a definitive diagnosis, it can signal that an additional examination may be necessary.

3. Ultrasound and biopsy. Additional measures may be taken if the DRE and PSA tests raise concerns. Ultrasound employs sound waves to create an image of your prostate, offering a closer look at its size and condition.

If further clarification is required, a biopsy involves collecting small samples of prostate tissue for a detailed examination under the microscope [8]. This procedure helps provide more precise insights into the condition of your prostate.

Maintaining open communication with your specialists is essential. If you’re feeling uneasy or have questions, don’t hesitate to voice them.

If your healthcare provider suggests these tests, remember that it’s a key part of the process to keep your prostate health in check.

Now, let’s talk about treatment. 

Treatment Options

There are many different treatment options available to those managing an enlarged prostate. They fall into 5 categories: 

1. Medications

Some medications [9] can help ease the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, including:

  • Alpha-Blockers. These medications help relax the muscles around the prostate and bladder, to ease symptoms like difficulty urinating and a weak urine stream.
  • 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors. These drugs aim to shrink the prostate and ease symptoms. They are particularly effective for larger prostates.

2. Lifestyle Changes

  • Dietary Modifications. Modifying your diet can yield positive results in your health. It’s essential to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains when dealing with an enlarged prostate [10].
  • Fluid Management. Be mindful of your fluid intake, especially in the evening. Keep alcohol and caffeine in particular to a minimum [11].
  • Regular Exercise. Physical activity isn’t just about staying fit. It can also benefit your prostate health [12]. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week.

3. Interventional Radiology

  • Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE). This emerging procedure is performed by interventional radiologists. It involves obstructing the blood supply to the prostate to reduce its size [13]. PAE is considered a minimally invasive alternative to surgery and has demonstrated promising results in managing symptoms.

4. Surgical Procedures

  • Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP). In cases where symptoms are severe and other treatments prove ineffective, TURP may be an option. For this procedure, a specialist removes part of the prostate to reduce urinary obstruction [14].

5. Minimally Invasive Procedures

  • Laser Therapy. Using laser technology, this procedure targets and removes prostate tissue, improving urine flow [15].
  • UroLift. This minimally invasive procedure involves implanting tiny devices to lift and support the enlarged prostate tissue [16]. It opens up the urethra and eases symptoms.

Each treatment option comes with its benefits and considerations. Your doctor will guide you in making informed decisions.

Remember that the ultimate goal of these treatments is to enhance your quality of life by managing symptoms, as this condition can affect different parts of your day-to-day routine, which we will cover in the next section.

Impact on Quality of Life

An enlarged prostate diagnosis means more than just physical symptoms for many.

It can impact the quality of everyday life in several ways:

1. Sleep Disturbances

Frequent nighttime bathroom visits can disrupt your sleep [17]. Regular sleep interruptions might lead to the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • A decline in general well-being

2. Work and Daily Activities

Dealing with an enlarged prostate might mean more trips to the restroom during your day. This can impact your ability to:

  • Concentrate at work
  • Enjoy daily activities

You may also become frustrated and feel a bit limited [18].

3. Emotional Well-being

Coping with symptoms and potential lifestyle changes can take an emotional toll [19]. You may start to experience feelings like:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Embarrassment

4. Impact on Relationships

Changes in your bathroom routine and potential impacts on intimacy could cause difficulty in relationships [20]. Open communication with your partner is essential while navigating these changes together.

5. Coping with Treatment Side Effects

Certain treatments might bring along their own set of side effects [21]. Understanding and managing these side effects, such as changes in libido or potential impacts on sexual function, are part of the overall experience.

6. Adjusting to Life Changes

Adapting to a change in lifestyle – whether it’s taking medications or getting active – might need some adjustment.

It’s not just about changing your physical habits. A change in mindset is needed to fully embrace these modifications.

Managing the impact of an enlarged prostate isn’t just about tackling physical symptoms. It’s about adjusting your script for the unexpected twists and turns in your everyday life.

While there are many ways to manage the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, there are also steps one can take earlier in life to avoid this condition altogether. Read on to learn about preventative measures. 

Preventive Measures

Having an enlarged prostate in your life isn’t a guarantee.

There are a number of habits you can instill early on to avoid complications.

1. Regular Exercise

Our bodies are built to move! Engage in regular physical activity. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Exercise promotes well-being and also contributes to a healthier prostate. Incorporate the following activities into your routine that can positively impact prostate health:

  • Kegel exercises [22]
  • Jogging
  • Cycling 

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink water – staying hydrated supports urinary function [23] and helps flush out toxins. It’s also important to limit caffeine and alcohol, especially closer to bedtime.

3. Limit Red Meat and Dairy

Keep the steak dinners to a minimum! Too much red meat and high-fat dairy can affect your prostate. Some studies suggest that eating too much of these items might be linked to an increased risk of prostate issues [24].

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

When it comes to weight, strive for a balance that feels right for you. Avoid extreme dieting and instead opt for a consistently healthy diet and regular exercise. Carrying extra weight has been connected to a higher chance of prostate issues [25].

5. Regular Check-ups

Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. Early detection of prostate issues allows for timely intervention and better management of potential concerns [26].

Schedule appointments and have a chat with your doctor, especially if it runs in your family.

6. Consider Supplements

Some studies suggest that some supplements may have a positive impact on prostate health, including:

  • Saw palmetto [27]
  • Beta-sitosterol [28]

It is important to seek medical advice about the potential benefits of supplements. Before diving into the supplement aisle, talk with your doctor. Some supplements can be helpful, but it’s all about balance.

7. Manage Stress

Chronic stress contributes to various health issues, including those related to the prostate [29]. Try combating stress with your favorite activities or try:

  • Reading a good book
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

When it comes to building healthy habits, It’s not about drastic changes.

It’s about weaving these habits into your everyday life.

When adopted collectively, these lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of developing complications.

Conclusion

An enlarged prostate is a common condition that can impact your life.

However, you can manage your prostate health by recognizing warning signs and exploring treatment options.

Managing your prostate health is simply about embracing a lifestyle that keeps you feeling good. Every step in the journey counts, from getting the initial diagnosis and discussing treatment options with your doctor, to managing stress and implementing healthy habits. 

Every small action adds up to make a big difference, which can lead to an improved overall quality of life.

If you suspect that you’re dealing with symptoms resulting from an enlarged prostate, interventional radiology may be a solution for you. At [Imaging and Interventional Radiology], our team of dedicated experts maintains a patient-focused approach, providing high-quality care with compassion and expertise.

You shouldn’t have to suffer. Take the first step towards relief and improving your everyday well-being. Contact Imaging and Interventional Radiology today!

Resources

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2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-enlargement/

3. Meikle AW, Bansal A, Murray DK, Stephenson RA, Middleton RG. Heritability of the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia and the roles of age and zonal prostate volumes in twins. Urology. 1999 Apr;53(4):701-6. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(98)00569-x. PMID: 10197844.

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5.https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/cancers-of-the-kidney-and-genitourinary-tract/prostate-cancer

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7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psa-test/about/pac-20384731

8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/prostate-biopsy/about/pac-20384734

9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK481490/

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12. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/3-ways-exercise-helps-the-prostate-yes-the-prostate

13. Moulin B, Di Primio M, Vignaux O, Sarrazin JL, Angelopoulos G, Hakime A. Prostate Artery Embolization: Challenges, Tips, Tricks, and Perspectives. J Pers Med. 2022 Dec 29;13(1):87. doi: 10.3390/jpm13010087. PMID: 36675748; PMCID: PMC9865478.

14. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/transurethral-resection-of-the-prostate-turp

15. Issa MM. The evolution of laser therapy in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Rev Urol. 2005;7 Suppl 9(Suppl 9):S15-22. PMID: 16985899; PMCID: PMC1477637.

16. Roehrborn CG, Barkin J, Gange SN, Shore ND, Giddens JL, Bolton DM, Cowan BE, Cantwell AL, McVary KT, Te AE, Gholami SS, Moseley WG, Chin PT, Dowling WT, Freedman SJ, Incze PF, Coffield KS, Herron S, Rashid P, Rukstalis DB. Five year results of the prospective randomized controlled prostatic urethral L.I.F.T. study. Can J Urol. 2017 Jun;24(3):8802-8813. PMID: 28646935.

17. Li Y, Zhou X, Qiu S, Cai B, Wang S, Chen L, Hu D, Jiang Z, Wang M, Xiong X, Jin K, Wei Q, Yang L, Ma L. Association of sleep quality with lower urinary tract symptoms/benign prostatic hyperplasia among men in China: A cross-sectional study. Front Aging Neurosci. 2022 Oct 24;14:938407. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.938407. PMID: 36353690; PMCID: PMC9637838.

18. Tsang KK, Garraway WM. Impact of benign prostatic hyperplasia on general well-being of men. Prostate. 1993;23(1):1-7. doi: 10.1002/pros.2990230102. PMID: 7687780.

19. Koh JS, Ko HJ, Wang SM, Cho KJ, Kim JC, Lee SJ, Pae CU. The Relationship between Depression, Anxiety, Somatization, Personality and Symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Suggestive of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Psychiatry Investig. 2015 Apr;12(2):268-73. doi: 10.4306/pi.2015.12.2.268. Epub 2014 Dec 12. PMID: 25866530; PMCID: PMC4390600.

20. Corona G, Gacci M, Maseroli E, Rastrelli G, Vignozzi L, Sforza A, Forti G, Mannucci E, Maggi M. Clinical correlates of enlarged prostate size in subjects with sexual dysfunction. Asian J Androl. 2014 Sep-Oct;16(5):767-73. doi: 10.4103/1008-682X.126382. PMID: 24830688; PMCID: PMC4215685.

21. Yu ZJ, Yan HL, Xu FH, Chao HC, Deng LH, Xu XD, Huang JB, Zeng T. Efficacy and Side Effects of Drugs Commonly Used for the Treatment of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Associated With Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Front Pharmacol. 2020 May 8;11:658. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.00658. PMID: 32457631; PMCID: PMC7225336.

22.https://www.uclahealth.org/cancer/cancer-services/prostate-cancer/patient-resources/educational-materials/kegel-exercises-men

23. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink

24. Nouri-Majd S, Salari-Moghaddam A, Aminianfar A, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Association Between Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Nutr. 2022 Feb 7;9:801722. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.801722. PMID: 35198587; PMCID: PMC8859108.

25. Parikesit D, Mochtar CA, Umbas R, Hamid AR. The impact of obesity towards prostate diseases. Prostate Int. 2016 Mar;4(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.prnil.2015.08.001. Epub 2015 Nov 24. PMID: 27014656; PMCID: PMC4789344.

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27. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/saw-palmetto

28. Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Stark G, Mulrow C, Lau J. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;1999(2):CD001043. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001043. PMID: 10796740; PMCID: PMC8407049.

29. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/stress-and-benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-bph-20090929192

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