Prostate enlargement is a common part of ageing; Know More

K C Rehana

Prostate gland complications can be troublesome for elderly people and intrudes into their privacy unexpectedly. Of course, the gland is a blessing for men throughout their life to fulfil their masculinity, but for some it becomes a curse as they age. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a non cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland leading to many kinds of illness connected to urination and bladder. Let's check the problems it creates... reasons, treatments, diet etc.

What is prostate?
Prostate is a small gland and is part of the male reproductive system which helps make semen. Located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, it wraps around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. It tends to grow larger as you get older. If your prostate gets too large, it may cause a number of health issues. Enlarged gland can cause pressure on the bladder and urethra, gradually making its walls thick and creating many kinds of urinary difficulties.

Enlargement of prostate gland
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or enlargement of prostate gland is commonly seen in older men. It's natural that the prostate gland gets bigger gradually after 45 years. For some of them, it may get 50 percent bigger in size and half among them may suffer different complications, leading to lifelong medications or repeated surgeries. Modern medicine has developed effective medicines and treatments which help to avoid surgeries to an extent, says Dr Sreedharan Unni, Senior Urologist, Malabar hospital, Calicut.

Enlargement of the prostate mainly affects urinary bladder, flow of urine and sometimes the kidneys too. Urination difficulty is the complication the patient feels first. With this condition, the urinary stream may be weak or may be a feeling to stop and start again. As urine gets stored in the bladder for a long time, there are chances of infection or accumulation of stones in the bladder leading to kidney damage.

How does it happen?
Hormonal change is the main factor which leads to prostate enlargement. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, controls the functions of the prostate gland. This is the factor which keeps the gland in a balanced size. When a man gets older, testosterone may lose its power on the gland, and the estrogen gets powerful. This may lead to enlargement.

During earlier days, surgery was considered the main solution for prostate enlargement. Modern medicine has developed effective medications for the illness but for many, life long medication is needed and it may create different kinds of side effects and complications too. Lower blood pressure, blockage of semen, weak ejaculation are some of the issues they feel.

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) surgery is a solution for an enlarged prostate. TURP is often recommended when prostate enlargement causes troublesome symptoms and fails to respond to medication. It’s a kind of surgery in which the enlarged portion of the prostate is carved out using a thin metal tube called a resectoscope attached with a camera and light. Blockage of semen flow, conjunction of urine tube, peeing while coughing (losing control over the bladder) are the side effects of the surgery. Repeated surgery is needed for some patients.

Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive treatment that helps improve lower urinary tract symptoms caused by prostate enlargement. By reducing the size of the blood vessels, the gland shrinks. But this too causes many other health issues. Vaporisation of enlarged tissue using laser is an alternative to TURP treatment.

TUNA treatment
TUNA stands for Transurethral Needle Ablation. High-frequency radio waves, delivered through twin needles, burn a specific region of the prostate in this procedure. TUNA results in better urine flow and relieves BPH symptoms with fewer complications than invasive surgery.

Getting in hot water
Hot water is delivered through a catheter to a treatment balloon that sits in the center of the prostate in water-induced thermotherapy. This computer-controlled procedure heats a defined area of the prostate while neighbouring tissues are protected. The heat destroys the problematic tissue. The tissue is then either excreted through urine or reabsorbed by the body.

Lifestyle is very important

Exact medication combined by an organized lifestyle can bring lots of positive changes and a normal life to the patient. A healthy, relaxed lifestyle can keep these kinds of complications away to an extent, says Sreedharan Unni. But regular monitoring through check ups is very important. Keep your body mass index in a balanced level because obesity is one of the prime reasons for prostate enlargement. Beware of high presence of LDL cholesterol. Avoid over consumption of food items like beef, mutton, mussels, egg and milk, which contain animal proteins. Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking. Consume fruits, leaves and vegetables enormously. Exercise regularly, to keep your body fit. Different kinds of Yoga asanas are also recommended.

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