From an evening glass of wine with your meal to a pint in your local bar, alcohol is ubiquitous. However, drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious health risks, such as liver damage, high blood pressure and an increased risk of certain cancers. It can also impair your judgment, leading to dangerous situations and accidents. Excess alcohol consumption is also known to worsen symptoms of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia - BPH).
Can Drinking Alcohol Aggravate an Enlarged Prostate?
An enlarged prostate is a condition that affects many men as they age. It occurs when the prostate, a small gland that sits between the bladder and the penis, grows in size. This can cause urinary problems such as difficulty starting or stopping urination, a weak stream, or the need to urinate more frequently. In more serious cases, it can lead to urinary retention or difficulty emptying the bladder. For those with the condition, alcohol can have several effects.
Alcohol and The Bladder
The bladder is made up of layers of muscles, and alcohol affects our muscles in a number of ways. It can cause dehydration, weakening muscles and making it harder to control bladder muscles. This can contribute to an increase in urinary urgency and frequency, as well as an increase in urinary leakage.
For those with BPH, alcohol can also increase the risk of developing an overactive bladder. The bladder muscles can become overactive due to alcohol's effect on nerve signals. An increased sense of urinary urgency and frequency are a couple of the symptoms. Additionally, alcohol can irritate the bladder's lining, causing many of the same urinary symptoms.
Alcohol Is A Diuretic
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urination. This can be problematic for men with an enlarged prostate, as it can worsen urinary symptoms such as a frequent urge to urinate or a weak urine stream.
Alcohol Is An Inflammatory
Alcohol is known to be inflammatory, and excessive consumption can increase prostate inflammation, which may increase urinary frequency and urgency.
But it’s not all bad news...
Although the link between heavy drinking and an enlarged prostate isn’t clear, some studies have revealed that moderate alcohol drinking may have beneficial effects on benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms.
A review of 19 studies (120,091 men) revealed that alcohol intake was associated with a decreased risk of BPH. Compared to having no alcohol, there was a 35% decreased likelihood of BPH. Other studies have found that moderate drinking may help reduce inflammation in the prostate, as well as improve blood flow and reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Treatments For An Enlarged Prostate
Treatment for an enlarged prostate varies depending on the severity of the condition.
Medications: Among the most common medications to treat BPH are alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Alpha-blockers relax the muscles around the prostate, allowing urine to flow more freely. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors reduce the size of the prostate by decreasing the production of the hormone DHT, which can contribute to the enlargement of the prostate.
Lifestyle Changes: Lifestyle changes can effectively treat an enlarged prostate. Cutting down on the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume, quitting smoking, exercising regularly and drinking plenty of water can all help reduce symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.
Other lifestyle changes that can help include:
- Doing your best to reduce stress
- Avoiding large meals before bedtime
- Practicing bladder control techniques such as Kegel exercises
- Limiting intake of animal proteins
- Getting regular check-ups from your doctor
- Taking medications as prescribed
Surgeries: Surgery is another option for treating an enlarged prostate. The most common type of surgery is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). This procedure involves removing part of the prostate through the urethra. Other types of surgery include open prostatectomy, laser prostatectomy and prostatectomy with robotic assistance.
Common side effects of prostate surgery can include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
- Painful urination
Typically the side effects are short-term. Long-term complications of these surgeries are rare.
Prostate Artery Embolization: Prostate artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that involves blocking off the arteries that supply blood to the prostate. This reduces the amount of blood flowing to the prostate and consequently, the gland shrinks in size.
PAE has been increasing in popularity in recent years. By reducing the size of the prostate, it can relieve urinary symptoms such as frequent and urgent urination, difficulty starting and maintaining urination, weak urinary stream and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying.
Additionally, prostate artery embolization doesn’t require a general anesthetic and has a shorter recovery time than traditional treatments for BPH, such as surgery. It can be completed in just one day, and most patients are able to return home the same day.
Overall, there are a variety of options available for treating an enlarged prostate. It is important to speak to your doctor to discuss which one is right for you.
PAE At The Midwest Institute for Non-surgical Therapy
The Midwest Institute for Non-surgical Therapy (MINT) is a leading provider of PAE
treatments. As specialists in this minimally invasive technique, we have the experience and expertise to ensure successful treatment outcomes.
If you would like to know more about PAE, please don´t hesitate to contact MINT for more information. We can answer any questions you may have about this procedure.
Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation. We have 5 convenient locations to choose from, including Chicago, IL.
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