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Prostate Enlargement: Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention, Treatment & Impact on Sexual Health

February 10, 2023 | Abigail Mckay

Prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a medical condition that affects many men. In this blog post, we'll explore the causes, prevention, and treatment of prostate enlargement. We'll also dispel some myths about the condition. With this information, you or a loved one can take action to improve your health and quality of life.

Enlarged prostate gland is a common condition among men as they age

As men age, they tend to experience an unfortunate commonality—enlarged prostate glands. This condition often brings with it a host of unpleasant symptoms such as frequent urination, nighttime interruptions, difficulty starting and stopping, and a slow flow of urine. While it is true that this can be somewhat embarrassing and inconvenient for those who suffer from it, the good news is that numerous causes, preventative measures, and treatments are available for those who require assistance. With knowledge about the options comes the power to make informed decisions. Therefore, we hope to provide you with relevant information regarding enlarged prostate glands so that you will feel more knowledgeable and empowered to take your health into your own hands.

The cause of an enlarged prostate is unknown, but there are risk factors that can contribute to the condition

While the exact cause of an enlarged prostate is still unknown, certain risk factors can put men at greater risk of developing this condition.

Factors such as

  • Age: Being over 50

  • Family history: Having a father or brother who had the condition

  • Race: African American men are at higher risk than other races;

  • Diet: High fat and animal-based protein can increase an individual's chances.

Additionally, there are lifestyle factors to consider, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, that may also contribute to the enlargement of the prostate. As always, it is important for those affected by prostate enlargement to seek medical advice about the best treatment option for their situation.

There are several treatments available for enlarged prostates, including medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes

Enlarged prostates can be difficult to deal with, but thankfully, many treatments are available today. Medication, surgical procedures, and lifestyle modifications are all effective means of dealing with this issue. Understanding the patient's circumstances will help doctors determine the appropriate treatment plan. Even lifestyle modifications, like reducing stress levels and improving diet, can make a difference in symptom control. A multi-faceted approach tailored to the individual may be the best way to ensure long-term relief from this troublesome problem.

Diagnostic tests your doctor might suggest to check for prostate enlargement

When it comes to diagnosing prostate enlargement, there are several tests that your healthcare provider might suggest. One test that is often used is a digital rectal exam (DRE), which is a physical examination where your healthcare provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to feel the size and shape of your prostate gland. Another test that might be suggested is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures the level of PSA in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland and is used as a screening tool for prostate cancer.

 Additionally, a urine flow test measures the strength and amount of urine flow, while a post-void residual volume test measures the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. Your healthcare provider might also suggest a prostate ultrasound. It can provide valuable information about the size and shape of your prostate, as well as help determine if there are any growths or abnormalities present. All these tests can provide important information about the health of your prostate and help your doctor determine the best course of treatment for you.

In general, screening for prostate enlargement is recommended for men over the age of 50 or earlier if they have a family history of prostate cancer or other risk factors. However, the age at which to start screening and the frequency of screening tests can vary depending on individual circumstances, and it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the best approach for you.

Prevention of an enlarged prostate is largely unknown, but some things may help reduce the risk of developing the condition

Prostate enlargement is a common condition among aging men, but there is still much we don't know about how to prevent it. Some factors contributing to lowering the risk include maintaining healthy levels of testosterone and estrogen, keeping an active lifestyle by exercising regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also important to take time for stress relief, such as through meditation and leisure activities, as this reduces inflammation in the body. While there are no guarantees that these measures will prevent prostate enlargement, it's always important to be proactive about your health and reduce risks where possible.

Can enlarged prostate impact sexual health and libido or cause complications like erectile dysfunction?

An enlarged prostate can indeed have an immense impact on an individual's sexual health and libido and may even cause complications like erectile dysfunction and infertility. Erectile dysfunction is caused when the blood flow to the penis is impeded due to prostate enlargement or damage of nerves around the penis. However, it cannot be viewed as a definitive result of prostate enlargement if not accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty passing urine, pain during urination, frequent bathroom visits, etc. Similarly, a decrease in libido could also be caused by physical as well as psychological reasons that need to be addressed to rule out any underlying medical condition. In addition to seeking appropriate medical care, lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, avoiding junk food intake, and addressing alcohol and smoking issues can significantly minimize risk factors leading to enlarged prostates.

All in all, men over the age of 50 need to take care of their prostate health. As a man ages, the chance of developing an enlarged prostate increases, but taking proactive steps now can be beneficial in managing it if and when it occurs. It is essential to discuss the benefits and risks of PSA testing with your healthcare provider, the appropriate age to start testing, and the frequency of testing. They can help determine your best approach based on your circumstances. If you have an enlarged prostate gland, you should always talk to your doctor about which treatment will be best for you, as everyone is different. While there may seem like there’s not much one can do to prevent an enlarged prostate, taking simple steps such as drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine, and getting regular exercise can improve the situation. Remember, the key to managing any health condition is knowledge—so don't forget to educate yourself on the facts about prostate enlargement and make sure you are getting proper care.

 

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