Friday, June 26, 2009

Enlarged prostates are common in older men and have a number of treatments

The prostate gland is just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the first inch of the urethra (the tube through which urine and sperm exit the body). Usually, the prostate gland starts to enlarge after middle age. When the prostate becomes enlarged, the condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

BPH affects 40 per cent of men in their 50s and 90 per cent of men in their 80s. If the enlarged gland begins to press on the urethra and to interfere with urination, then treatment may be needed.
The main symptoms of BPH are: difficulty initiating a urine stream; a hesitant, interrupted and weak stream; and urgency and leaking or dribbling.

Over time, as the urethra becomes narrower, the bladder wall may become thicker and the bladder itself may get smaller, causing more frequent urination; bladder irritability; a sudden, strong urge to urinate, especially at night; and urge incontinence (occurs when bladder muscles are too active). People with urge incontinence lose urine as soon as they feel a strong desire to go to the bathroom.

If a man suddenly becomes unable to pass any urine at all, this condition is called acute urinary retention.
The size of the prostate does not always determine how severe the obstruction or the symptoms will be.  

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