If you’re like most men, you don’t give your prostate much thought, unless it’s giving you trouble. This walnut-shaped gland plays an essential role in your reproductive system, but problems with it can affect more than just your sex life, making it necessary to be aware of and take action if you notice any symptoms.
At Alate Health in Houston, Texas, board-certified interventional radiologists Dr. Andrew Doe and Dr. Michelle Maneevese and the rest of our care team understand that many men don’t know what to look for when it comes to an enlarged prostate or why it’s so important to stay informed.
That’s why we put our experts together and created this informative guide to understanding the symptoms that might arise when the prostate becomes enlarged, why it’s dangerous to ignore them, and the treatment options available to help.
Understanding an enlarged prostate
The small prostate gland plays a significant role in your reproductive system, producing seminal fluid, which is a large component of semen. But it also helps with hormone production and the regulation of urine flow.
Medical researchers still don’t understand why some men experience an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). But they do know that at least 50% of men are diagnosed by the time they reach 60, with 90% of men having BPH by age 80, which is highly correlated to aging.
In addition to age, other risk factors linked to BPH include
- Being obese
- Having diabetes
- Having heart disease
- A family history of BPH
Recent studies have also revealed additional biological factors may influence who develops BPH, including cellular changes in the testes and elevated testosterone.
Signs of an enlarged prostate
The most common signs of BPH involve issues with urination. This is because your prostate is located just under your bladder and around your urethra. As it grows, the gland begins to constrict the urethra, narrowing the passageway your body uses to release urine and semen.
Signs you may have an enlarged prostate gland include:
- Having trouble starting to urinate
- Having a slow urine stream
- Experiencing dribbling with urination
- Having frequent urges to urinate
- Getting up multiple times at night to urinate
- Not being able to empty the bladder
- Noticing changes to the color or smell of your urine
An enlarged prostate can also cause pain during urination or after ejaculation.
Why you should pay attention to signs of an enlarged prostate
The good news is that BPH doesn’t increase your risk of developing prostate cancer, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the signs of an enlarged prostate. This is because, over time, BPH can cause your urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body) to become blocked.
As less and less urine can flow through the urethra, your symptoms of BPH get worse. You can develop several serious health conditions that require continuing medical care, such as:
- Complete blockage of the urethra
- Damage to your kidneys
- Chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Bladder stones
- Bladder infections
All of these conditions can trigger additional and concerning symptoms, such as lower back or abdominal pain, fever and chills when peeing, hematuria (blood in the urine), and even an inability to urinate without medical intervention.
Understanding BPH treatment options
If you’re struggling with the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, the board-certified radiologists at Alate Health can help. Our team offers one of the safest BPH treatments available: prostate artery embolization (PAE).
This outpatient procedure uses X-ray technology and microspheres (microscopic plastic beads) to block blood supply to your prostate gland. Your Alate Health provider makes a small incision into the arteries that feed the prostate and uses X-ray imagery to place the microspheres accurately.
PAE does not require general anesthesia, and you’re free to return home when your treatment is complete. Recovery takes 1-2 days, and you can expect to notice a quick improvement in your symptoms as the prostate begins to shrink.
The best part? Over 90% of men who undergo PAE report a dramatic reduction in symptoms, with the vast majority continuing to enjoy the benefits for years to come.
If you’ve noticed any of the signs of an enlarged prostate, don’t ignore them! Seek help by contacting the Houston, Texas, offices of Alate Health. Call 713-322-7537 to schedule an appointment or request a consultation online now.