Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in older men where the prostate starts to enlarge. While BPH isn't cancerous and isn't fatal, the enlarged prostate blocks the flow of urine from your bladder, making it more difficult to empty. The tube that carries urine from your bladder, the urethra, runs straight through the center of your prostate, so it will start to narrow as your prostate grows.
When you have BPH, you may have trouble urinating and you may not be able to fully empty your bladder every time you go to the bathroom. You may have to go to the bathroom more often since you can't fully empty it every time. This can increase your risk of developing a bladder infection since bacteria can grow in the urine that's being retained in your bladder. In severe cases of BPH, your urethra can become completely blocked and you may become unable to urinate at all.
Thankfully, several treatment options exist for BPH that helps make it easier to urinate. To learn what they are, read on.
Alpha blockers are a type of medication that relaxes the smooth muscle tissue in your body, including the smooth muscle surrounding your bladder and urethra. When the muscle is relaxed, your urethra will become wider, letting urine flow through more easily.
5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are a type of medication that stops the testosterone in your body from being converted into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is the hormone that causes your prostate to grow, and preventing your body from producing it can cause your prostate to shrink. When your prostate starts shrinking, it won't constrict your urethra as tightly anymore.
If medication doesn't allow you to fully empty your bladder every time you go to the bathroom, you can schedule an appointment with a urologist and ask about surgical options for treating BPH. A common approach is transurethral resection of the prostate. During this procedure, a thin scope will be inserted into your urethra and an electrical current will be passed through a wire at the end of the scope. The electrical current will slowly burn away prostate tissue, hollowing out your prostate from the inside and preventing it from compressing your urethra. Transurethral resection of the prostate is normally very successful, although it does carry some risks. It can cause incontinence if the muscles that allow you to stop the flow of urine are damaged during the procedure.
If you have BPH and you're tired of feeling like you need to go to the bathroom all the time due to an inability to fully empty your bladder, schedule an appointment with a urologist in your area and ask about your treatment options. You can try medication first to see if it allows you to empty your bladder normally. If medication isn't sufficient, you and your urologist can discuss taking a surgical approach to widen your urethra and allow you to go to the bathroom normally again.
Contact a local healthcare service, such as Nashville Healthcare Center, to learn more.