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Men's Health 04 Nov 2022

Is your prostate keeping you up ‎at night?‎

A change in bathroom habits might be caused by an enlarged ‎prostate ‎

All too often, men put frequent visits to the bathroom down to ‎old age. Just like the appearance of fine lines and grey hairs, they ‎expect less control over their bladder as they get older. But when ‎the urge to go starts interrupting sleep, it’s time to see a doctor.‎

Increasing nighttime trips to the bathroom may be an early sign of ‎an enlarged prostate. Many men put up with a change in toilet ‎habits for years before getting it checked out. But doctors warn ‎that increasing toilet trips could indicate an issue with the prostate ‎that needs to be treated. ‎

Enlarged prostate

There are several names given to this problem; enlarged prostate, ‎benign prostate hyperplasia, or simply BPH. It is the most ‎common prostate complaint in men over 50 and as age increases, ‎it becomes more and more common. ‎

BPH occurs when the prostate becomes enlarged and blocks the ‎flow of urine from the bladder to the urethra. The bladder has to ‎work harder to push urine out and eventually, its muscles thicken ‎and become sensitive – so much so that it contracts even when it ‎contains the smallest amount of urine and hence the feeling that ‎you need to urinate frequently. Eventually, the urethra becomes ‎so blocked that the bladder cannot empty properly. ‎

Signs of BPH

  • Frequent need to urinate, day and night ‎
  • Finding it difficult to start urination ‎
  • Feeling like you haven’t emptied your bladder fully
  • An urgency to urinate ‎
  • Starting and stopping during urination
  • ‎‘Dribbling’ ‎

If not treated, BPH can cause complications. This can include ‎urinary tract infections, bladder stones, incontinence, and acute ‎urinary retention. These can be serious conditions, so any change ‎in bladder habits should always be discussed with your doctor. ‎

A diagnosis

The first thing a doctor will do is rule out anything more serious, ‎such as prostate cancer. They will then assess the severity of the ‎BPH. If side effects are mild, doctors advise monitoring it regularly ‎before starting treatment. But if symptoms start affecting quality ‎of life, and causing complications, it is time to start treatment. ‎

Treatment options

There are a wide range of treatment options available, ranging ‎from medication to surgery. Your doctor will decide which is right ‎for you based on the severity of your individual case. Thankfully, ‎modern medicine offers a wide range of minimally invasive ‎therapies which can be extremely effective, with minimal side ‎effects. ‎

Medication

There are a range of drugs available to treat BPH, which act by ‎shrinking the prostate or preventing it from growing further. They ‎are usually effective with few side-effects, so are a good option ‎for milder cases. ‎

Minimally invasive treatment

If medication isn’t working, there are a range of treatments that ‎can be performed within the doctor’s office that are quick and ‎extremely effective. Transurethral resection of the prostate ‎‎(TURP) is one option, which involves removing parts of the ‎prostate from inside the urethra using either electro-cutting or a ‎laser for resection, or vaporization of the enlarged parts of the ‎prostate.‎

A revolutionary new technique to treat enlarged prostate is now ‎being offered at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The Rezum system ‎uses sterile water vapor (steam) to deliver targeted, controlled ‎doses of thermal energy directly to the prostate to reduce the ‎blockage. The quick, simple procedure has been shown to reduce ‎symptoms of BPH drastically and effectively in most patients.‎

Surgery

When the prostate is very enlarged, surgery may be the only ‎option. It can involve removing tissue that is blocking the urethra ‎by cutting it away, destroying it with a laser, or making cuts in the ‎tissue to reduce pressure. ‎

Remember, changes in bathroom habits are expected as we age, ‎but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Talk to your ‎doctor, as an enlarged prostate should always be treated.‎

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