Your prostate gland, located around your urethra, makes seminal fluids, plays a role in hormone production, and helps regulate your urine flow. Prostate glands naturally grow throughout your life, which can put pressure on your urethra and cause frustrating symptoms.
At Alate Health, our board-certified interventional radiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating problematic enlarged prostates for men in the Houston, Texas, area using minimally invasive prostate artery embolization.
Though learning you have an enlarged prostate can cause concern, there are many reasons to feel encouraged about this common condition. Here’s a look at five promising facts about enlarged prostates and how we help ease your discomfort.
1. An enlarged prostate doesn’t always cause symptoms
Once you reach puberty, your prostate grows rapidly, usually doubling in size. Around your mid-20s, it grows again and keeps growing for the rest of your life.
While an enlarged prostate can trigger urinary symptoms, not all men with an enlarged prostate experience them. Less than half of men with an enlarged prostate have symptoms that affect their quality of life.
2. An enlarged prostate isn’t usually a major health concern
The prostate gland keeps growing as you age. This means all men eventually experience an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Here’s a quick look at the numbers:
- About a quarter of all men develop BPH by age 55
- Around 50% of men develop BPH by age 60
- By age 85, at least 90% of men have BPH
The good news is that most of the time when treated, an enlarged prostate doesn’t cause serious health issues.
3. An enlarged prostate ≠ prostate cancer
If you’re diagnosed with BPH, you may experience frustrating symptoms, like:
- A strong or sudden urge to urinate
- Trouble stopping and starting urinating
- Getting up at night multiple times to visit the toilet
- Feeling like you have to urinate after emptying your bladder
- Dribbling or leaking after urinating
- Pain, discomfort, or burning when urinating or during ejaculation
- Feeling like you need to strain/push to urinate
Many of these symptoms are similar to those people with prostate cancer experience.
However, BPH isn’t cancerous, nor does it increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. Studies are ongoing, but recent research suggests having an enlarged prostate may lower your risk for prostate cancer.
4. You can avoid complications of an enlarged prostate
While an enlarged prostate isn’t cancerous, the condition can lead to more serious conditions when left untreated. Some conditions related to untreated BPH include:
- Complete blockage of the urethra
- Damage to the kidneys
- Chronic/recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Development of bladder stones and/or bladder infections
If you develop one or more of these health conditions, you may experience additional symptoms, including:
- Lower back or abdominal pain
- Not being able to urinate
- Pain, fever, or chills while emptying your bladder
- Blood in your urine
If you have any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with your provider at Alate Health immediately.
While these health complications may seem frightening, you can avoid complications of an enlarged prostate by seeking medical attention as soon as you notice any signs of BPH. When treated, BPH rarely leads to medical complications.
5. An enlarged prostate is highly treatable
There’s no need to struggle with the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. The board-certified radiologists at Alate Health use one of the safest, most effective BPH treatments available: prostate artery embolization (PAE).
You won’t need general anesthesia with PAE, and you can return home after spending some time recovering at our state-of-the-art offices.
Outpatient PAE uses X-ray technology and tiny plastic beads, called microspheres, to block blood flow to the prostate. With less blood supply, the prostate shrinks, alleviating your symptoms and helping you reclaim your quality of life.
To perform PAE, your Alate Health provider creates a small incision into the arteries that feed your prostate. Your team member then precisely places the microspheres using X-ray imagery.
You can expect to recover after about 1-2 days, and your symptoms improve gradually as your prostate shrinks, with over 90% of men experiencing a dramatic improvement.
For more information about enlarged prostate or to learn more about PAE, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Alate Health in Houston, Texas.