The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland responsible for producing seminal fluid. But when this small gland grows larger than it should, the issues it triggers can cause problems in more than just your sex life.
Medical researchers call an enlarged prostate benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), and they still don’t understand the exact cause of this condition. However, scientists know that age is the single most common factor for an enlarged prostate gland. In other words, the older you get, the better the chances are that you’ll develop an enlarged prostate.
Board-certified radiologist Dr. Andrew Doe and the team at Alate Health, with three locations in Houston, Texas, specialize in diagnosing and treating BPH in men of all ages. Dr. Doe also wants you to recognize the signs of BPH so you can get the help you need as soon as possible.
Here’s a look at four common signs of BPH and when it’s time to seek medical help.
1. Frequent, urgent need to urinate
The earliest sign for most men with BPH is a frequent, urgent need to urinate. Because the prostate gland is located under your bladder, as it grows, it creates pressure on the bladder, causing the feeling that you need to urinate even when your bladder isn’t full. This can also cause you to wake up several times at night to make multiple trips to the bathroom.
2. Problems starting or stopping your urine
Urinary issues related to BPH aren’t limited to an increased need to pee. The prostate gland surrounds the top part of your urethra, the small tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body. When it grows larger than its normal size, it constricts the urethra, causing problems starting or stopping your urine.
3. Incontinence or dribbling
The pressure on your bladder and constriction on your urethra caused by BPH can also lead to embarrassing incidents of incontinence or post-urination dribbling, called post-micturition dribble, or PMD.
PMD differs from the urine you might notice when you shake your penis while still at the urinal or toilet. Instead, this type of dribbling comes from urine left behind in the urethra’s curve. It usually happens after you’ve already left the restroom and typically causes noticeable wet spots on your pants.
4. Pain during urination or ejaculation
As the prostate gland continues to grow, it can cause pain during ejaculation or make going to the bathroom painful. You might notice this pain begins when you first feel the need to urinate or before or immediately following ejaculation.
When to get help for BPH
If you have these signs of BPH or are concerned about the health of your prostate, it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice. Research shows that getting help for BPH earlier can help manage your symptoms better in the long run.
Managing or treating BPH depends on your symptoms, age, and overall health. At Alate Health, Dr. Doe considers all of these factors when creating a personalized BPH treatment plan designed to meet your specific needs.
Dr. Doe may recommend starting treatment with medication for men with mild-to-moderate BPH. For men with severe BPH or whose symptoms are problematic, he may recommend a minimally invasive procedure called prostate artery embolization (PAE).
During this outpatient treatment, Dr. Doe makes a small incision in your groin or wrist to access the blood vessels that supply your prostate gland. He then places microscopic plastic beads called microspheres, which slow the blood flow to the prostate.
With a limited blood supply, the prostate gland stops growing and shrinks back to normal size. The result? A significant reduction in the troublesome symptoms related to BPH that can last for years.
Ready to learn more about the signs of BPH or the treatments available to help? Schedule an appointment at Alate Health in Houston, Texas, or request an appointment online now.