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Men's Health

4 Tips for Coping with an Enlarged Prostate

Editor’s note: We originally posted a version of this article in October of 2013 with a link to Harvard Medical School’s report on prostate conditions. Since then, the experts at Harvard have issued an updated report with a great deal of new information. Because most men eventually develop some type of prostate problem, we recommend buyingt he 2014 Annual Report on Prostate Diseases. This report isn’t just a primer on prostate conditions. It also includes roundtable discussions with experts at the forefront of prostate research, interviews with men about their treatment decisions, and the latest thinking on complementary therapies. This report provides you and your man with the information you need to understand the current controversies, avoid common pitfalls, and work with your doctor to make informed choices about prostate health.

When a man reaches about age 25, his prostate begins to grow. This natural growth is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is the most common cause of prostate enlargement. BPH is a benign condition that does not lead to prostate cancer but the two problems can coexist.

Although 50% to 60% of men with BPH may never develop any symptoms, others find that BPH can make life miserable. The symptoms of BPH include

*a hesitant, interrupted, or weak urine stream

*urgency, leaking, or dribbling

*a sense of incomplete emptying

*more frequent urination, especially at night.

As a result, many men seek treatment. The good news is that treatments are constantly being improved. Patients and their physicians have more medications to choose from than ever before so if one doesn’t do the trick, another can be prescribed. And thanks to some refinements, surgical treatments are now more effective and have fewer side effects than before.

But there are some things men dealing with BPH can do on their own. When symptoms are not particularly bothersome, watchful waiting may be the best way to proceed. This involves regular monitoring to make sure complications aren’t developing, but no treatment. For more troubling symptoms, most doctors begin by recommending a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Often this will be enough to relieve the worst symptoms and prevent the need for surgery.

Tips for relieving BPH symptoms

Four simple steps can help relieve some of the symptoms of BPH:

1)    Some men who are nervous and tense urinate more frequently. Reduce stress by exercising regularly and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation.

2)    When you go to the bathroom, take the time to empty your bladder completely. This will reduce the need for subsequent trips to the toilet.

3)    Talk with your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Some may be contributing to the problem. Your doctor may be able to adjust dosages or change your schedule for taking these drugs, or he or she may prescribe different medications that cause fewer urinary problems.

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