[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Men have a walnut-sized gland called the prostate, which is located below their bladder, near the penis and just in front of the rectum. Over time and as men get older, there is an increased risk that the prostate will swell, which is a normal part of the aging process. Despite not being a severe condition, a swollen prostate may cause discomfort and further complications. Since the prostate also surrounds the urethra, a small tunnel that runs from the bladder to the penis in order to let urine and semen flow out of the body, a swollen urethra may affects the urinary system.
The prostate is responsible for the production of a fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the seminal vesicles contribute fluid to semen, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra, and it is then expelled through the urethra. The gland is an important part of the reproductive system, but it often causes health problems, particularly after men are older than 50 years old, which is why it is important for men to understand the signs and implications of a swollen prostate.
Swollen Prostate Causes and Prevention
“Benign prostatic hyperplasia––also called BPH––is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and not cancerous. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is also called benign prostatic hypertrophy or benign prostatic obstruction. The prostate goes through two main growth periods as a man ages. The first occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase of growth begins around age 25 and continues during most of a man’s life. Benign prostatic hyperplasia often occurs with the second growth phase,” as noted in the Medical Encyclopedia of the National Institutes of Health.
A large number of men older than 40 have a swollen prostate, while it occurs in more than 90% of men over age 80. However, the causes for the swelling of the prostate are not fully understood, and prevention is very difficult. The prostate suffers alterations during men’s lives, with aging and changes in the cells of the testicles playing important roles in the growth of the gland. Men who had the testicles removed at a young age, as a result of testicular cancer or for other reasons, do not develop a swollen prostate and when the testicles are removed later in life, the prostate may shrink on its own.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of a Swollen Prostate
The symptoms of swollen prostate manifest differently throughout the patient’s life. Less than half of the patients suffer the symptoms, which include dribbling at the end of urinating, inability to urinate (urinary retention), incomplete emptying of your bladder, incontinence, needing to urinate two or more times per night, pain with urination or bloody urine, slowed or delayed start of the urinary stream, straining to urinate, strong and sudden urge to urinate, and weak urine stream.
When patients present these type of symptoms, physicians start by analyzing the patient’s medical history and perform a digital rectal exam to confirm the diagnosis. Additional exams may be conducted to better understand the extent of the swelling include urine flow rate, post-void residual urine test to understand how much urine remains in the bladder after urination, pressure flow studies to measure the pressure in the bladder after urination, urinalysis to check for blood or infection, urine culture to check for infection, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer, and cystoscopy.
Treatment and Prognosis of Swollen Prostate
The treatment plan for a swollen prostate takes into consideration patients’ age, and severity of the symptoms, and physicians may from watchful waiting, lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery. The most common drugs are alpha 1-blockers, which relax the muscles of the bladder neck and prostate, making urination easier, while finasteride and dutasteride can also lower the levels of hormones produced by the prostate, reducing its size. Antibiotics may be prescribed in the case of swollen prostate and inflammation of the prostate. Also, the surgical options for the treatment of enlarged prostate are transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), the most common and most proven surgical treatment, and simple prostatectomy.
Regarding self-care for a swollen prostate, the NIH recommends urinating when first feeling the urge, avoid alcohol and caffeine, spread out fluids during the day and do not drink a lot of fluid all at once, not to take over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines that contain decongestants or antihistamines since these drugs can increase the symptoms, as well as keep warm and exercise regularly, do Kegel exercises and reduce stress. If the swollen prostate is already aggravated for a long time and the symptoms are worsening, patients may develop sudden inability to urinate, urinary tract infections, urinary stones, damage to the kidneys, or blood in the urine.
Note: BPH News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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