Life can be unpredictable. At one point you are in your prime, that macho man, the alpha male with well-trimmed beards, nailing it in every corner. Passing out urine is the least of your concern. So what could possibly happen? Thinking back, you cannot remember if any of your forebears battled with anything that prevented them from peeing.
But you know what they say about time and what it does best? It sneaks right by, without you noticing. Before you know it, you cannot fully empty your bladder. Growing up, you could hit the ceiling with your pee, but now to even pass it out completely is gradually becoming a problem.
You find yourself urinating frequently; now more than ever. When you manage to urinate, you are only able to pass it out in small amounts. This is aside from the extreme discomfort and pain you feel as you strain to empty your bladder. Whenever you are out with family or friends, you are always quick to get the seat closest to the restroom. You are angry, and you don't know why all this is starting to happen to you.
You are advised to see a doctor. At this point, you are desperate and will take anything for this “cup” to pass over you. You finally book an appointment with the doctor, and the young dude asks you some questions, makes some mental notes, and checks his reference books. To be sure, he requests you do a prostate examination and boom! you are told the problem is your prostate. It is getting bigger, growing more than it should.
Something needs to be urgently done. Life comes at you fast right? You find yourself missing those days when you had no idea this could happen. As the first intervention, you will probably be prescribed some meds; and you have to incorporate the swallowing of those weird tasting capsules into your schedule.
So just like that, you need periodic visits to the hospital. Where on every occasion, you are not sure of the news the doctor has for you. For those who might be wondering, the prostate is a small gland located in the pelvis, just between the pelvis and the bladder. If it becomes enlarged, it can pressure the urethra which is the tube urine passes through. Resulting in a condition known as “Benign Prostate Hyperplasia” BPH for short.
This might seem unconventional, as this write up is a tad different from what I do write about; but I deemed it fit to write when at the close of work, a colleague who was a rep in one of the big pharma companies, slipped me some marketing pamphlets about a new drug they have for preventing the enlargement of the prostate.
This spurred a discussion, and we had a talk. I mean, I am just living my best life, but my prostate has some other plans. It might just decide to stress me, make my urine painful, lower abdominal pain, throw in the possibility of developing a urinary tract infection, things could not just get any easier. Funny enough, nothing has been known to cause it.
There are no risk factors you can consider for prostate enlargement, not for all the troubles it causes. Surprising right? I and my colleague got talking, and we touched on all the theories we could think of. The balance between regulated cell growth, and programmed cell death, hormonal causes, and possible links to prostate cancer (Pardon the scientific jargon here).
But out of the theories here, only that relating to hormones is tenable. BPH is not linked to prostate cancer. It is easy to get worried if having BPH might ultimately lead to prostate cancer, but this is not the case. I could not stop wondering why a gland this vital would not stop growing, causing many issues in the process.
There is nothing you can take to make BPH go away completely, but there are many options you could consider; all of which are focused on limiting prostate growth, and the best choice for you may depend on the level of growth of your prostate, age, overall health, and the level of discomfort you might be experiencing.
Your healthcare provider would go through all these with you and ensure you are only making the best choice. There are drugs such as Tamsulosin, Finasteride, and combination therapies all aimed at limiting the hormonal changes that have been triggering the increasing growth of your prostate. There are also minimally invasive surgeries that might need to be done, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
I attend to patients with BPH many times, and I am sometimes conflicted about what to say. But I have come to discover that telling them about making better lifestyle choices, and trying to live as healthy as they can, is one thing to say. Limit your intake of alcohol, those fizzy drinks, and artificial sweeteners.
Exercise regularly, and limit drinking in the evening. Trust me, it helps. I do hope you have learned a thing or two here, so till I come again, let's keep our prostates in check. Selah!