The Causes of Prostate Enlargement
If you’re experiencing symptoms related to an enlarged prostate or are interested in learning more about this condition and the available treatments, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we will explore what an enlarged prostate is, the potential causes of its development, and the various treatment options available. Understanding the causes and treatment options can help you make informed decisions about your health.
Call or book an appointment online with Urology of Greater Atlanta to learn more about enlarged prostates and the many treatments available. We have many convenient locations throughout Georgia. Our board-certified urologists are ready to help.
What Is an Enlarged Prostate Gland?
An enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common condition that affects men as they age. The prostate gland, which is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube through which urine passes), tends to grow larger over time.
Symptoms of benign prostate enlargement include urinary tract infections, acute urinary retention, bladder stones, or impaired kidney function and, therefore, often require treatment.
What Could Enlarge My Prostate?
The exact cause of an enlarged prostate is not fully understood. However, several factors are believed to contribute to its development. These potential causes include:
- Age: Age is the most significant risk factor for an enlarged prostate. It is more common in men over the age of 50, and the prevalence increases with advancing age. Hormonal changes that occur with age, particularly an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, are thought to play a role in prostate growth.
- Hormonal imbalances: Changes in the balance of hormones in the body, particularly an increase in DHT, are associated with prostate enlargement. DHT is derived from testosterone and is believed to promote the growth of prostate cells.
- Family history: Having a family history of an enlarged prostate increases the risk of developing the condition. There may be genetic factors that contribute to the growth of prostate tissue.
- Testosterone and estrogen levels: Changes in levels of testosterone and estrogen, the primary male and female sex hormones, respectively, may influence prostate growth. An imbalance between these hormones, such as a decrease in testosterone levels relative to estrogen, can contribute to prostate enlargement.
- Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle choices and habits may increase the risk of developing an enlarged prostate. These factors include obesity, lack of physical activity, and a diet high in animal fat and low in fruits and vegetables.
It is important to note that an enlarged prostate is a non-cancerous condition and is not directly linked to prostate cancer. However, both conditions can coexist in some individuals.
What Can You Do to Treat an Enlarged Prostate?
Treatment options for an enlarged prostate vary depending on the severity of symptoms and the impact on the individual’s quality of life. Here are some common approaches to treating an enlarged prostate:
In cases where the symptoms of an enlarged prostate are mild and not significantly affecting daily life, a healthcare professional may recommend a “watchful waiting” approach. This involves regular monitoring the symptoms without immediate intervention. Lifestyle changes and self-care measures may be suggested to alleviate symptoms.
There are several medications available that can help manage the symptoms of BPH. These medications work by relaxing the prostate and bladder muscles, reducing urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, urgency, and weak urine flow.
Some common medications for BPH include alpha-blockers, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, and combination therapies. It is important to discuss potential side effects and risks with a healthcare professional before starting any medication.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
For moderate to severe cases of BPH, minimally invasive procedures may be recommended. These procedures aim to reduce the size of the prostate or relieve pressure on the urethra, improving urine flow. Examples of minimally invasive procedures include:
- Transurethral Resection of The Prostate (TURP): This procedure involves removing excess prostate tissue around the bladder neck. The surgeon will access the prostate through the urethra using a resectoscope.
- Laser Therapy: Different types of laser therapies can be used to vaporize or ablate prostate tissue, relieving urinary symptoms.
- Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP): This procedure involves making small incisions in the prostate to relieve pressure on the urethra.
- Prostatic Urethral Lift (PUL): This procedure uses small implants to hold the prostate lobes apart, reducing urethral obstruction.
- Water-Induced Thermotherapy (WIT): This procedure involves delivering controlled heat to the prostate using heated water, destroying excess tissue.
It’s important to speak with your healthcare provider about the treatment options available and which will be most practical for you.
Seek Help for an Enlarged Prostate
Contact our team at Urology of Greater Atlanta to learn more about benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment. We have many locations throughout Georgia for your convenience. Our board-certified urologists are ready to help. Schedule your appointment today!
Our urologist team operates out of many locations and a surgical center to serve the needs of all Northern Georgia residents.