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Men's Health

Prostate Enlargement

Prevention - Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

As men age, the prostate may enlarge (benign prostate hyperplasia). This seems to be a natural process and is not really a disease. However, as the gland gets bigger, it tends to squeeze the urethra and cause urinary problems, such as:

An enlarged prostate gland is not a serious problem unless urination becomes extremely difficult or backed-up urine causes bladder infections or kidney damage. Some dribbling after urination is very common and not necessarily a sign of prostate problems.

Surgery is usually not necessary for an enlarged prostate. Although surgery used to be a common treatment, recent research shows that most cases of prostate enlargement do not get worse over time. Many men find that their symptoms are stable, and sometimes symptoms even clear up on their own. In these cases, the best

treatment may be no treatment at all. Drugs are available that may help improve symptoms in many men. Your doctor can advise you about the various treatment options.

Prevention

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Since the prostate produces seminal fluid, there is a long-standing belief that ejaculating regularly (2 to 3 times per week) will help prevent an enlarged prostate. There is no scientific proof of this, but it is risk-free.

Home Treatment

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  • Avoid antihistamines and decongestants, which can make urinary problems worse.

  • If you are bothered by a frequent urge to urinate at night, cut down on beverages before bedtime, especially alcohol and caffeine. Continue to drink at least 8 glasses of water and other fluids during the day.

  • Don't postpone urinating, and take plenty of time. Try sitting on the toilet instead of standing.

  • If dribbling after urinating is a problem, wash your penis once a day to prevent skin infections.

  • Also see Urinary Incontinence on See Urinary Incontinence.

When to Call a Health Professional

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  • If you are unable to urinate, or if you feel as if you cannot empty your bladder completely.

  • If you develop fever, back or abdominal pain, or chills.

  • If there is blood or pus in your urine.

  • Water pills (diuretics), tranquilizers, antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants can aggravate urinary problems. If you take any of these drugs, ask your doctor if there are other medications you could use that do not cause these urinary side effects.

  • If the symptoms of an enlarged prostate come on quickly, are bothersome enough that you want help, or last longer than 2 months.

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