All you need to know about benign prostatic hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called prostate enlargement, it is a noncancerous increase in size of the prostate gland. As some men get older, the prostate gland can become enlarged which causes benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.

The prostate gland is a small, walnut-shaped gland that sits behind the bladder in men. During sexual activity, the prostate gland helps produce semen, the nutrient-rich fluid that carries the sperm during ejaculation. The prostate gland is controlled by powerful hormones known as the sex hormones, including testosterone.

In the prostate gland, testosterone is converted to another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of DHT cause the cells in the prostate to enlarge.

Because it surrounds part of the urethra, the enlarged prostate can squeeze that tube. This causes problems when you try to pee. Typically, you won’t see these problems until you’re 50 or older, but they can start earlier.

SYMPTOMS

  • Increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak urine stream or dribble at the end of urination
  • Interrupted urination
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Incontinence
  • Pain after ejaculation
  • Painful urination
  • Urinary retention or inability to urinate

These symptoms occur when an enlarged prostate gland blocks the urethra (urethra is the tube that runs between the bladder and outside of the body). This blockage can make it difficult or even impossible to urinate.

It is important that you see your doctor if you have early symptoms of BPH. Although rare, it can lead to serious problems such as kidney or bladder damage.

A larger prostate doesn’t mean you’ll have more or worse symptoms. It’s different for each person. In fact, some men with very large prostates have few, if any, issues. But your doctor should be aware either way.

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor can use a variety of tests to check on the condition of your prostate. A few of them include:

Digital rectal exam: Your doctor puts on a glove and gently inserts one finger into your rectum to check the size and shape of your prostate. He checks for things such as size, firmness, and any lumps.

Prostate-specific antigen test: This blood test checks the amount of a protein called PSA that is produced by prostate cells. Higher levels may be a sign of cancer. By themselves, they are not proof you have prostate cancer.

Higher levels could also point to an enlarged prostate or prostatitis. But, levels may be low even with men who have prostate cancer, so discuss the results with your doctor.

Prostate biopsy: Men with high PSA results or other symptoms of cancer may have a tissue sample taken of their prostate to determine whether cancer is present.

FOODS GOOD FOR THE PROSTATE

  • Salmon: Salmon is rich in healthy fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent and reduce inflammation within the body. Other cold-water fish, such as sardines and trout, are also rich in these types of fats.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that may benefit prostate gland cells. Cooking tomatoes, such as in tomato sauce or soup, helps to release the lycopene and make it more readily available to the body.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are excellent sources of antioxidants, which help to remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the byproducts of reactions that occur within the body and can cause damage and disease over time.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, contain a chemical known as sulforaphane. This is thought to target cancer cells and promote a healthy prostate.
  • Nuts: Nuts are rich in zinc, a trace mineral. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the prostate and is thought to help balance testosterone and DHT. Besides nuts, shellfish and legumes are also high in zinc.
  • Citrus: Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are all high in vitamin C, which may help to protect the prostate gland.
  • Onions and garlic: a study found that men with BPH tended to eat less garlic and onions that men without BPH. More research is needed to confirm these results, but onions and garlic are healthful additions to most diets.

Also, some studies on plant extract therapies, such as an extract from a type of palm tree known as saw palmetto, have been shown to have a positive impact on the prostate size and urinary flow. More research is needed, however.

A healthful diet for an enlarged prostate is more than just eating good foods. It also means avoiding other types of foods that are not good for the prostate.

 

FOODS BAD FOR THE PROSTATE

  • Red meat: Research suggests that going red meat-free may help improve prostate health. In fact, daily meat consumption is believed to increase the risk of prostate enlargement.
  • Dairy: Similarly to meat, regular consumption of dairy has been associated to an increased risk of BPH. Cutting out or reducing butter, cheese, and milk may help reduce BPH symptoms.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine may act as a diuretic, which means that it increases how much, how often, and how urgently a person has to urinate. Cutting back on coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate may improve urinary symptoms of BPH.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can also stimulate urine production. Men with BPH may find that their symptoms are improved by giving up alcohol.
  • Sodium: A high salt intake may increase the urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH. Following a low-sodium diet by not adding salt to meals and avoiding processed foods may be helpful for some men.

TREATMENT

How your doctor handles your condition depends on the details of your case — your age, how much trouble it’s causing, and more. Treating BPH depends on the severity of the symptoms.

Watchful waiting: If you have an enlarged prostate but are not bothered by symptoms, you may be advised merely to get an annual checkup, which might include a variety of tests.

Lifestyle changes: This includes cutting back on how much you drink at night and before bedtime, especially drinks with alcohol or caffeine and reducing stress levels.

Medicine: Common treatments for BPH are alpha-blockers, which ease BPH symptoms, and what’s called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs, which help shrink the prostate. Many men may take them together.

Multivitamins: These contain natural trace minerals needed to keep the prostate healthy, we can get them from the foods we eat, but multivitamins like Now Supplements and Super Beta Prostrate Advanced make these vitamins readily available for you.

Surgery: Men with severe symptoms who haven’t been helped by other treatments might have to turn to surgery. Talk to your doctor about possible risks and outcomes.

In managing an enlarged prostate, dietary changes can be quite effective in managing some of the symptoms of BPH, but other basic lifestyle changes can help as well. If these lifestyle changes are not effective, medication or surgery may be recommended by a doctor.

It is important to stay in communication with a doctor about symptoms, particularly if the doctor suggested a “watch and wait” approach. If you don’t know where to seek help, you can use the consult a doctor platform.

 

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