If you are a man over age 50, you probably know someone living with the effects of an enlarged prostate gland. Maybe you are that man. For reasons that remain unclear, the walnut-shaped gland under the bladder continues to grow gradually in most adult men. Over a lifetime, the cumulative growth can be considerable. If the gland becomes enlarged enough to obstruct the bladder, it can cause bothersome symptoms like a weak urine stream, difficulty with completely emptying the bladder, and frequent trips to the bathroom.
If you experience these symptoms, talk with your doctor. A physical exam and some blood tests can help identify the path to relief.
Some simple changes in behavior that can help to ease urinary symptoms whether you choose treatment or not. For example,
- Avoid drinking fluids for one to two hours before bed.
- Limit fluid intake before going out in public or starting a trip.
- Urinate when you first get the urge.
- Go to the bathroom on a timed schedule, even if you don't feel a need to go.
- When you go to the bathroom, take the time to empty your bladder completely. This will reduce the need for subsequent trips to the toilet.
- Common over-the-counter drugs, such as antihistamines and decongestants, may slow your stream even more and potentially block your ability to empty your bladder.
To learn more about BPH, its causes, symptoms and treatments, read Living Better with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, an online guide from Harvard Medical School.
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