Most of us have a basic understanding of the prostate gland. It’s a small gland in the male reproductive system that makes some of the fluids in semen and propels the semen through the penis during ejaculation. But did you know a prostate never stops growing once puberty begins?
This small gland is tiny until testosterone levels rise in puberty. At that point, it starts to grow rapidly, often doubling in size by age 20. Then, for a short time, growth slows until a second spurt occurs, usually around age 40.
Since the prostate never really stops growing, most become enlarged eventually. In fact, we see it in nearly half of male reproductive systems by age 60, and these numbers continue to rise until age 85, when they reach almost 90%.
At Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina in Wilmington, North Carolina, our team has advanced training in men’s reproductive health and the urinary tract system. They also offer innovative solutions to keep an enlarged prostate from interfering with your quality of life.
Here are a few signs of an enlarged prostate — also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Your prostate gland wraps around the urethra, the narrow tube where urine passes from the bladder out of the body. So, as it grows in size and restricts urine flow from the bladder, it often causes urinary tract symptoms.
One common complaint we see with BPH includes frequent and intense urges to urinate. This can occur at any time, but most people notice increased urination at night and often have to empty their bladders several times in a single evening.
An enlarged prostate can also cause urinary incontinence, or urinary leakage.
In addition to the increased need to urinate, it’s also common to experience problems passing urine. For example, you could notice:
These issues can seem mild at first but progress as your prostate gland continues to grow. In some cases, you can even experience symptoms so severe you can’t pass urine at all.
If you notice blood in your urine, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. In most cases, this condition — medically known as hematuria — isn’t cause for concern. However, it can indicate an underlying condition.
When you have an enlarged prostate, you can develop hematuria for several reasons. Sometimes, it’s broken blood vessels from a stretched bladder wall or the surface of your prostate. These complications can occur when you have problems emptying your bladder, leading to urinary tract infections from bacteria overgrowth.
Never ignore blood in your urine because it could lead to additional issues with your urinary tract system and even put your kidneys at risk.
Just like blood in your urine, you should never ignore pain. While BPH isn’t life-threatening and should never get confused with prostate cancer, it can impact your quality of life.
An enlarged prostate gland can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
These symptoms can be mild to severe, and you can have intense symptoms even with a slightly enlarged.
Fortunately, our team offers numerous BPH solutions. These methods vary from lifestyle changes and medications to minimally invasive procedures like UroLift®. This innovative treatment involves inserting tiny, permanent implants to lift, secure, and hold enlarged prostate tissue out of the way, which widens your urethra and provides immediate symptom relief.
If you think you have an enlarged prostate, don’t wait to find help. Contact Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina by calling 910-421-2505 or request an appointment online today.