The month of September welcomes Urology Awareness Month, organised by The Urology Foundation. The aim is to raise awareness, break down stigma and encourage individuals to actively take care of their urology health.
Diseases and cancers of the kidneys, bladder, prostate and the male reproductive system are becoming more prevalent and it is estimated that 1 in 2 of us will be affected by a urology condition within our lifetime which can significantly impact the quality of life and sleep in particular.
Benign Prostate Enlargement (BPE) / Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign Prostate Enlargement (BPE) and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) are medical terms used to describe an enlarged prostate gland. This condition can affect how you pass urine.
Having an enlarged prostate gland is a common condition for men over the age of 50 and has been estimated to increase from 50% among men between the ages of 50 and 60 years old up to 90% for men older than 80 years of age.
In the UK more than 3 million men have lower tract symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a small gland, situated in the pelvis in between the penis and the bladder. Its position means that if the prostate becomes enlarged, it can place pressure on the urinary system. This increases your frequency of needing pee and can also cause difficulty in emptying your bladder completely. It can also cause difficulties in starting to pee.
Causes of an Enlarged Prostate
The cause of BPE and BPH are unknown but are believed to have links with the balance of hormones in the body as it naturally ages. Hormonal changes in older men may play a role in the enlargement of prostate glands thereby blocking the urethra, the tube which carries urine from the bladder and passes through the centre of prostate glands.
The first line of treatment for benign prostate enlargement depends on the severity of the symptoms however these are often relieved by adopting healthy lifestyle choices. This includes reducing alcohol and fizzy drinks as these can irritate the bladder further. Also, limiting artificial sweeteners, exercising regularly and reducing fluid intake in the evening.
There are medications that can help relax muscles and shrink the prostate. Devices such as catheters can also be used if you have chronic urine retention, where you find it difficult to pass urine and empty your bladder.
Here at The Mayfair GP, we offer health screenings that can help to identify any possible health concerns at an early stage. If you are worried about your urinary symptoms please get in touch today to book an appointment.