The term prostate enlargement refers to the normal enlargement with aging of the prostate, the gland located at the exit of the man’s urinary bladder. Due to the enlargement, this gland can slowly close the urethra a little, making urination more difficult. The doctor himself uses the term ‘benign prostatic hypertrophy’ which literally translates as ‘benign prostate enlargement’.
The complaint therefore only occurs in men and often does not start until after the age of 50. In the group of men older than 65 years, 45 out of 1000 men develop disruptive urinary complaints per year.
Symptoms of prostate enlargement
The complaints that can arise from a prostate enlargement are the following:
- It takes a while for the pee to get going
- The beam is thin and limp
- Some urine is still coming after the urine has stopped (drip)
- There is more urge to urinate, often in small amounts
- The feeling remains that there is still urine in the bladder
- The urge to urinate comes very quickly
- Sometimes some urine is lost in between
How does prostate enlargement occur?
The prostate is a gland located just below the bladder, around the urethra. The gland ensures that seminal fluid is produced. With this, sperm cells are ejected during ejaculation.
Its size is comparable to a chestnut, but during life, the prostate grows under the influence of male sex hormones. If this growth takes place outwards, nothing would be wrong, but the prostate tissue also grows inwards, often pressing on the urethra. This can obstruct the outflow of urine.
Because the bladder has to work harder, the bladder wall muscle thickens. The bladder function can be disturbed in two ways. In other words, the bladder can no longer hold the urine properly so that people urinate more often and in small amounts. In other words, the bladder can no longer empty the urine properly, making spontaneous urination more difficult and sometimes not possible at all.
See also, Bladder infection in men
Is it serious and what can you expect?
Prostate enlargement in itself is usually not serious, at most a nuisance. The enlargement itself has nothing to do with prostate cancer. The complaints often vary throughout the year. The severity of the complaints will generally increase over the years. Ultimately, the complaints can become so bad that medical assistance becomes necessary.
The doctor can do several things after he has found that something is wrong. This varies from explaining and waiting with simple advice in the case of mild complaints, to giving medicines or a referral to a urologist.
The urologist can choose from several options, such as giving medicines or performing different types of operations. In the most common operation, a viewing instrument is placed through the urethra into the bladder under anesthesia (general anesthesia or local anesthetic).
The prostate is then hollowed out from the inside with an electric knife. Sometimes, if the prostate is very large, the surgery will be through the abdomen. In addition, a number of new techniques are being developed to make the prostate smaller without the need for surgery. Its effectiveness has yet to be further demonstrated.
See also, Bladder infection in children
When to go to the doctor?
It is wise to contact the general practice in the following cases:
- when in doubt and / or concerned about the diagnosis
- if you feel like urine is left in the bladder
- when you have to push really hard to urinate
- if there are additional complaints of fever, feeling unwell, losing weight or pain in the back or other bones
- if you see blood in the urine or the urine is cloudy
- if you have prostate cancer in your family at a young age (below 65 years)
- when urination is painful
Otherwise, if you are bothered by your complaints, consult your doctor.
The doctor will ask you about your complaints. He will then perform a physical examination, which will include a feel for the prostate. The prostate can be felt through the anus, where a finger can reach it just at the front of the intestine.
Many people are somewhat embarrassed by this examination (rectal examination). Keep in mind that this is a very common examination for your doctor, and you really should not be ashamed of it. The examination feels a bit strange, but in principle it is not painful.
It is wise to bring some fresh urine with you because your doctor will also want to examine it. He will probably also have a blood test performed, but this is not always necessary. In some cases, he will refer you to a urologist.
See also, Bladder infection in women
What can you do about it yourself?
There are a number of things you can pay attention to if you have prostate complaints. Don’t delay urinating for too long if you feel urgent. Do not under any circumstances urinate in a hurry, but take a moment. It is best to sit down while urinating, as this also relaxes the muscles around the bladder.
Some people suffer more from eating spicy foods or from drinking alcoholic beverages and coffee. If this is the case with you, it is advisable to take this into account as much as possible.
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