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How To Live With An Enlarged Prostate – 5 Essential Tips You Should Know

Let's face it; if you're over 50 and are male, there's a good chance you will have benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) – commonly known as an enlarged prostate.

According to research, 50% of males aged 50 and over experience this problem. While some show no symptoms, others are less fortunate, where BPH causes issues around urination. These include:

The good news for those feeling an increased need to use the bathroom, and indeed, for those that currently don't, is that simple lifestyle changes and habits make living with BPH easier, allowing you to live a better, and, dare we say it, normal, life.

With this in mind, here are five essential lifestyle tips you'll want to know.

Tip #1 – Reducing stress

We all experience situations or life events that trigger stress or anxiety, and everyone deals with them differently. However, in 2005, Dutch Scientists discovered a link between hypertension caused by stress and increased BPH symptoms.

They found that the rich network of nerves surrounding the prostate was triggered when stress caused an activity spike in the sympathetic nervous system. This activity spike caused muscles around the prostate to tense and contract, compressing the urethra. The results were increased residual urine and the need to use the bathroom more frequently.

One way to manage the effects of stress is through physical exercise. Regular physical activity helps to boost mood because exercise produces endorphins.

Endorphins are hormones secreted within the brain and are our body's natural high. They are also known to relieve stress. So while it can be hard to motivate yourself when feeling anxious or stressed, even small activities like a 15-20 minute walk 2-3 times a week can make a big difference.

If exercising isn't your thing, or you can't partake in physical activity, then meditation is another proven stress reliever. 

Meditation puts you in a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. The technique isn't difficult to learn and takes little time. In fact, meditation can be as easy as sitting comfortably in a quiet room, straightening your posture, closing your eyes and breathing deeply for a few minutes.  

Want to know more?

Here's an article on how to meditate for stress management

Tip#2 – Double voiding

Double voiding is the second tip for dealing with symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. Voiding is a technique that allows you to empty the bladder.

So why is this important?

Often, with prostate issues, the increased urgency of needing to empty the bladder means the act of urination happens fast. Quick urination can mean the bladder isn't completely empty. An unemptied bladder necessitates the need to pee more, but a bladder that remains partially full leads to further problems.

 Complications involved with an unemptied bladder include:

As you can see, the importance of emptying the bladder every time you use the bathroom is more than one of convenience. Therefore, double-voiding is good for prostate health and our overall well-being.

Here's what it entails.

Simply urinate as much as possible, relax for a few minutes and urinate again. Yes, it's that easy!

As a side note,

Evidence suggests that sitting provides a greater urodynamic profile for men with prostate and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). In other words, sitting to pee puts the body in a better position, allowing the bladder to empty faster and more completely.

If you are already a 'sitter', you're in good company. Larry David, the comedian, writer and actor, stated, "it's more comfortable when you need to go in the middle of the night, and you don't have to turn the light on."   

Tip #3 – Cut back on caffeine

Coffee aficionados, coffeeholic's or javaphiles, call them what you like, are all common terms for people who can't get enough coffee. But while a good cup of Joe gives you that morning boost, evidence suggests caffeine can also irritate the prostate and bladder. Not great if you're trying to live with an enlarged prostate, right?

A study found that men who consumed 234 mg or more of caffeine daily were 72% more prone to experiencing urinary problems than those who drank less.

If you're wondering how much caffeine 234 mgs is, there's approximately 80-100 mg of caffeine in your average 250ml cup of coffee, so that's a little over two cups.

If you want to reduce your intake, you could try regulating between regular and decaf. This way, you still get your regular caffeine hit, but in fewer amounts.

Tip #4 – Check  existing medications

Did you know that existing medications might be aggravating the symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate?

First-generation antihistamines like Benadryl, older-style tricyclic antidepressants like Amoxapine, Nortriptyline or Doxepin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin and Ibuprofen can all aggravate urinary symptoms in men who already have the condition.

If you take any of these meds, it might be worth asking your doctor if they can change them. Newer antihistamines, antidepressants, and alternative NSAIDs are available that shouldn't impact an enlarged prostate.

Tip #5 Lose weight

If you want to shed a few pounds, now may be as good a time as any. Recent studies suggest that excess body weight may exert increased abdominal pressure on the bladder, increasing the risk of urinary frequency. It's also thought that abdominal obesity is closely associated with enlarged prostate size.

That's not to say that men of average weight won't experience an enlarged prostate but may be less likely to suffer from symptoms than someone who is overweight or obese.

Therefore a good starting point for learning to live with an enlarged prostate is maintaining a healthy weight.

If you aren't sure where to start, the CDC has many helpful guides and strategies for success, so it might be worth starting there.

So, there you have it. Five easy lifestyle changes you can make to ensure that living with an enlarged prostate is less problematic.

Alternatively, if you don't want to put up with an enlarged prostate and all the potential problems associated with it, we invite you to talk to the team at the Midwest Institute for Non-surgical Therapy (MINT).

Dr Akinwande, a board-certified vascular and endovascular specialist, uses a ground-breaking, non-surgical technique called Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) to shrink the prostate and reduce symptoms.

To find out more, call 314 – 255-2204 or book an appointment online at one our 5 offices in St Louis, MO and Wentzville, MO and Swansea, IL, Evergreen Park IL, and Chicago, IL.

 

 

  

 

 

 

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