Almost all men experience enlargement of the prostate as they grow older and it’s typically not a dire medical concern. This common condition, sometimes called benign prostatic hyperplasia, is simply the growing of the prostate gland. Sometimes the enlarged gland puts pressure on the urethra, causing urination and bladder problems.
While it is not entirely known why the prostate tends to enlarge in old age, it is likely a normal part of the aging process. An enlarged prostate is likely due to normal changes in cell growth and hormone balance that occur as we age.
An enlarged prostate can lead to a number of urinary problems, including weak urine stream, trouble starting and stopping the stream of urine, frequent feelings of the need to urinate, and a sense of not completely emptying the bladder after urination. In a rare number of cases, an enlarged prostate can fully block the urethra, making it extremely difficult or impossible to urinate.
Enlarged prostate can be diagnosed through analyzing current symptoms, past health, physical exams, and tests. The doctor will likely ask how frequently the patient experiences symptoms and how severe they are. Physical exams involve a rectal exam where the doctor feels the size of the prostate. Tests include urine analysis, measurement of blood serum creatinine, and in some cases, a prostate-specific antigen test to rule out prostate cancer.
In mild cases, treatment may not be necessary, and lifestyle changes with regular monitoring may be adequate to manage an enlarged prostate. If a patient does require treatment, there are many options available depending on severity, patient age, and overall health. Treatment options include medication, minimally invasive office procedures, and surgery. The doctors at DFW Urology consultants work with patients to develop an individualized treatment plan that matches their lifestyle and medical needs.
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