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You know some of the signs of aging, but others are less talked about. As men age, the prostate continues to grow. For some men, particularly those over age 50, prostate enlargement, or benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), can cause symptoms that disrupt daily life. Michael Wierschem, M.D., a urologist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, answers a few questions about BPH.
As the prostate gets larger, it puts pressure on the urethra, which can affect bladder control. So, the most common symptoms include a frequent and urgent need to urinate, weakened stream and waking up in the middle of the night to urinate, Dr. Wierschem says. But, he adds, it’s also possible for a man to have BPH and not have any symptoms.
No. “As the prostate gets bigger, a man’s PSA (prostate-specific antigen) can increase,” Dr. Wierschem says. “But there’s no association between the growth of the prostate and the development of prostate cancer.”
A man’s treatment program is personalized to him. “One guy might get up once during night, not able to get back to sleep and he considers that a problem,” Dr. Wierschem says. “Another guy might get up two or three times and doesn’t really care.” According to Dr. Wierschem, a man with BPH can try daily medications or opt for an office-based minimally invasive procedure to help treat the symptoms. Patients might also consider a hospital-based procedure such as laser vaporization that uses a laser to remove the obstruction.
“In the summer, we naturally sweat more, so we need to drink more water,” Dr. Wierschem says. Men with BPH might not drink enough water to try to mitigate their symptoms, but it’s critical to stay hydrated, he says.
A man 50 years of age or more should have a prostate screening, including a physical exam and a PSA test, once a year.
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