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Enlarged Prostate? What It Is and What to Do

July 14, 2020
When it comes to problems “down there,” it’s natural to be embarrassed. It's no reason to avoid going to the doctor. Prostate issues occur more often that you’d think. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, benign enlargement of the prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, is a common condition seen in men as they age. In fact, half of men show signs of BPH by the time they reach 60. And by the time they reach 85, 90 percent of men will show signs. Further, half of those affected will need treatment.

Unfortunately, symptoms can be both frustrating and embarrassing. "They can't sit through a meeting or a plane flight without getting up," Kevin Slawin, M.D., a professor of urology at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston tells Web MD. "It's very annoying…and when they have to go, they really have to go."

What Causes an Enlarged Prostate?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, an enlarged prostate can actually block the flow of urine. Consequently, patients may feel like it takes a long time to urinate. Further, it may be hard to start urinating in the first place. And patients may need to relieve themselves more often than usual -- with the need coming on suddenly. This can make it difficult to travel or sleep through the night. 

As the condition progresses, patients may develop other issues like bladder stones or bladder infections, and blood may be present in urine. Kidney damage can occur, and at times, it may be impossible to urinate at all because the urinary tube is blocked. 

Diagnosing BPH

According to Web MD, it can take months or years for patients to see a healthcare professional. Patients often don’t reach out for help until symptoms become so severe that they are intolerable. "When they're getting up several times a night and have trouble falling asleep again, that's when they come in," Slawin tells WebMD.