Are you a male experiencing symptoms of hesitant or weak urine flow? Do you also notice interrupted urine stream, urgency to urinate or leaking? These symptoms are common with an enlarged prostate, or what is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The prostate gland is about a walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder, above the pelvic floor muscles, and in front of the rectum. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra; this is the tube that urine flows out from the body. Throughout life, the prostate will continue to grow. During puberty the first growth occurs and then another growth phase occurs later in life.
It is suspected that with changes in sex hormone levels which occur with aging process there is a change in the size of the prostate gland. The enlargement of the prostate gland is also influenced by lifestyle factors, health, and family history.
As the prostate enlarges it can begin to place pressure on the urethra and affect urine flow into the bladder. The bladder wall becomes thicker because it is forced to work harder because of the interrupted urine flow. As the bladder contracts, partial bladder emptying occurs. Since the bladder does not effectively empty, you can continue to feel an urge to pee, but can only eliminate small amounts of urine. This begins the cycle of urinary problems which can develop with BPH.
When you are not completely emptying your bladder or having difficulty emptying your bladder, urinary retention can occur and lead to the wall of your bladder weakening, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, or incontinence (unwanted loss of urine).
Keep In Mind
It is important to realize if you have partial obstruction of the urethra, certain medication can cause your symptoms of BPH to worsen. Allergy medications with decongestants can prevent urinary muscles from completely relaxing. Poor urinary muscle relaxation can also occur with alcohol, cold temperatures.
This could be a medication to relax bladder neck muscles or medications which shrink your prostate.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can be helpful for men with BPH. Physical Therapists can utilize manual techniques, behavioral training, and downtraining of muscles to help you learn how to fully relax pelvic floor muscles and appropriately empty your bladder if you carry a lot of tension in your pelvic floor.
Minimally-Invasive Treatments and Surgeries
There are various procedures which can use a light inserted inserted into the urethra and removal of parts of the prostate or procedures which destroy parts of the overgrown prostate.
Laser treatments which destroy overgrown prostate tissue