An enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition affecting over 50% of all men aged between 50 and 60 and up to 70% of men over 70. Because the most common symptoms of BPH relate to urinary function, it’s commonly diagnosed when patients experience frequent urination problems.
Typically, someone with an enlarged prostate experiences:
- A slow stream of urine (signs of a bladder obstruction)
- Stopping and starting during the urination process
- Bladder discomfort during urination
- An urgency to urinate without warning
- Waking up multiple times a night to urinate, and
- Urinary incontinence.
So how is BPH diagnosed?
Diagnosis of an enlarged prostate is usually confirmed after a discussion with a doctor or urologist about a patient’s symptoms or after a physical examination. If the problem is not apparent immediately, the doctor may recommend further tests, including:
- A digital rectal examination
- Blood tests to help rule out any other potential conditions
- Urinary flow testing, and
- A transrectal ultrasound
Can an enlarged prostate be cured?
For the majority of patients, benign prostatic hyperplasia is a curable problem. The good news is that there are several ways to treat it. So, you never need to suffer in silence.
Some patients see a significant reduction in symptoms after taking prescription medication such as alpha-blockers, while others may require surgery. Others turn to non-invasive, outpatient procedures such as prostate artery embolization. Either way, the net result is to decrease urinary symptoms allowing patients to have a better quality of life.
What about natural remedies?
Most natural remedies carry little or no scientific research to indicate whether they are an effective way to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. However, you may want to consider adopting the following:
- A balanced and healthy diet
- Limiting your alcohol intake ( evidence suggests there is a clear link between excessive alcohol and worsening enlarged prostate symptoms)
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding liquids before bed.
In addition, certain foods or beverages are classed as bladder irritants and include:
- Processed meat
- Highly acidic foods such as grapefruits, oranges and lemons, and
- High-fat dairy foods such as cream or whole milk
So you may want to try and avoid these products and food groups, where possible.
So, is an enlarged prostate all bad news?
While it’s true that the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia can appear mildly annoying at best and downright debilitating at worst, there is no evidence to suggest that the problem worsens over time in every case. Some patients experiencing enlarged prostate problems can remain stable for many years, and symptoms may even come and go.
Additionally, studies have shown no link between BPH and prostate cancer. Nor will it increase your risk of getting it. Therefore, there is no reason why a patient can’t live a long and happy life, especially when the symptoms are under control or managed.
That said, if you don’t want to live with an enlarged prostate, various proven surgical and non-surgical methods can help reduce the prostate’s size immediately or over time.
In essence, if you have been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are several actions you can take to either tackle the cause of BPH head-on or control the symptoms.
A word about prostate artery embolization
Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is one of the few non-surgical treatments that shrink an enlarged prostate. Treatment works by injecting harmless particles known as micro-spheres via a catheter directly into the blood supply that feeds the prostate. Over time the blood supply to the prostate is cut off, causing the prostate to shrink, thus alleviating existing urinary issues.
The process is carried out in an outpatient setting, so no lengthy recovery is required. Moreover, patients experience little-to-no discomfort with long-lasting treatment outcomes. In essence, when a patient undergoes PAE, they can expect:
- Lower risk of complications
- No hospital stay
- No general anesthesia, sutures or scarring
- Relief from uncomfortable prostate symptoms, and
- The ability to resume normal activities within a few days.
After treatment, the enlarged prostate should shrink within 24-48 hours. However, most people see changes in urinary function within 1-2 months. Over a six-month period, the prostate can shrink by as much as 50%, and in 75% of cases, treatment lasts for 3-4 years.
So, if you:
- Experience symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia that don’t respond to surgery
- Cannot or do not want to undergo surgery
- Have an exceptionally enlarged prostate that is not suitable for other treatments like TURP or laser procedures, or you,
- Prefer an outpatient treatment with little or no downtime,
you may want to consider Prostate Artery Embolization.
Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) at MINT
At the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), Dr. Goke Akinwande is a highly skilled vascular and endovascular specialist and has assisted many patients with enlarged prostates using the latest PAE technique.
MINT is one of only a handful of specialist treatment centers throughout the Midwest to offer this proven treatment method. So don’t suffer in silence. Patients don’t need a referral from their primary care provider. Instead, they can contact us directly at 314-255-2204 or request an appointment to get the ball rolling. Dr. Akinwande and his team are standing by to help. We have 5 convenient locations for patients to choose from, including Chicago, IL.
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