What is the cause of BPH?
BPH is a condition that develops in older men and is caused by the growth of the prostate. During life, the prostate goes through two growth periods. The first period is during puberty and it causes the prostate to double in size. The second period begins around the age of 25 and lasts for the rest of the man’s life. BPH develops during the second period of growth. As the prostate gets larger it begins to push against the urethra. This makes it difficult for the bladder to empty so it must work harder when urinating. Over time, this causes the bladder walls to thicken which makes it even harder for the bladder to empty correctly. This is what causes the symptoms of BPH. While BPH can’t always be avoided, management can start early and be effective.
What are the symptoms of BPH?
- Urgent need to urinate every 1 or 2 hours
- Difficulty urinating or painful urination
- Frequently getting up to urinate several times per night
- Stopping and starting while urinating
- Dribbling or leaking
- Bladder not emptying completely
The latest procedures for BPH include non-invasive procedures, surgeries, and BPH medications. In-office procedures are gaining popularity for their convenience and low risk but no matter what you choose, there are still some lifestyle changes that will help you manage your BPH more effectively.
Reduce your BPH symptoms with these lifestyle changes
- Relax with the use of exercise or yoga - BPH can make you feel like you have to frequently urinate and being tense can increase this feeling. In order to avoid being tense or nervous it is a good idea to add exercise, yoga, or meditation into your daily routine.
- Choose healthy foods and omega-3’s - Healthy food choices help reduce your BPH symptoms. An enlarged prostate diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains. Fish like salmon, halibut, or tuna are also recommended for their high content of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use the double voiding method - BPH makes it hard to empty the bladder all the way. When the bladder isn't emptied all the way you may get the urge to urinate every 1 or 2 hours. The double voiding method is a good method to help combat this. Double voiding is just waiting a few seconds after you have finished urinating in order to make sure that your bladder is completely empty. This method can help you to avoid going to the bathroom so often.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol before bedtime - Another symptom of BPH is frequent nighttime urination and the main cause of this is drinking diuretics close to bedtime. A diuretic is something that stimulates the kidney and causes them to increase the production of urine. Beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol are diuretics. These should be avoided 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid certain medications - Avoiding medications like high blood pressure medications that contain diuretics, antidepressants, and some decongestants (Benadryl or Pseudoephedrine) can help reduce BPH symptoms.
- Do kegels - A symptom of BPH that people find embarrassing is dribbling or leaking. To help avoid this you can strengthen the muscles around your bladder by doing kegel exercises. To do a kegel you simply squeeze the muscles around the bladder neck. You squeeze for ten seconds and then relax. Do this ten times, 3 to 5 times a day.