All his life, he slept like a stone. But now, there is an annoying trip to the bathroom every night, sometimes once or twice a night. For most men, these nightly bathroom runs may be the first sign of an enlarged prostate. Other symptoms may include trouble starting a stream of urine, leaking, or dribbling. And, like grey hair, an enlarged prostate is a natural by-product of getting older, doctors say. Trouble is, the nightly bathroom runs become more frequent – eventually edging their way into the daytime routine.
It’s a problem that has several names – enlarged prostate, benign prostate hyperplasia, or simply BPH. According to the National Kidney and Urological Disease Information Clearinghouse, the most common prostate problem for men over 50 is prostate enlargement. By age 60, over one-half of men have BPH; by age 85, the number climbs to 90%, according to the American Urological Association.
Enlarged Prostate Symptoms and Causes
In men, urine flows from the bladder through the urethra. BPH is a benign enlargement of the prostate that will block the flow of urine through the urethra. The prostate cells gradually multiply, creating an enlargement that puts pressure on the urethra – the “chute” through which urine and semen exit the body.
As the urethra narrows, the bladder has to contract more forcefully to push urine through the body. Over time, the bladder muscle may gradually become stronger, thicker, and overly sensitive; it begins to contract even when it contains small amounts of urine, causing a need to urinate frequently. Eventually, the bladder muscle cannot overcome the effect of the narrowed urethra so urine remains in the bladder and it is not completely emptied. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate can include:
- A weak or slow urinary stream
- A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
- Difficulty starting urination
- Frequent urination
- Urgency to urinate
- Getting up frequently at night to urinate
- A urinary stream that starts and stops
- Straining to urinate
- Continued dribbling of urine
- Returning to urinate again minutes after finishing
When the bladder does not empty completely, you become at risk for developing urinary tract infections. Other serious problems can also develop over time, including bladder stones, blood in urine, incontinence, and acute urinary retention. A sudden and complete inability to urinate is a medical emergency; you should see your doctor immediately. In rare cases, bladder and kidney damage can develop from BPH.
If you feel you are suffering from incontinence, then contact us and come and speak to one of our urologists!