If, like the majority of men in later life, you begin to experience problems with urinating then there is a good chance that you are suffering from a swollen or enlarged prostate. This condition, which is also known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia or benign prostatic hypertrophy), will affect about half of the male population by the age of 60 and rise to about ninety percent of all men by the time they reach 80 years of age.
Many men suffering from BPH will experience little if any enlarged prostate symptoms, but others will develop a range of symptoms associated with urinating including the need to strain in order to urinate, a weak or slow flow which starts and stops, a feeling that they have not emptied their bladder following urination, the need to urinate frequently and often with urgency and frequent awakening during the night to urinate.
In the early stages of BPH these symptoms are caused by the enlarging prostate pressing on the urethra and restricting the flow of urine from the bladder. At this point the bladder is able to counter this to a certain extend by simply contracting more strongly to force urine through the constricted urethra. As time goes by however, and the enlargement of the prostrate continues, a point will be reached at which the bladder cannot force all of its contents through the urethra and the bladder can no longer empty completely.
The restriction of the urethra and the inability to regularly flush out the bladder can also give rise to repeated urinary tract infections leading to a burning sensation or pain when urinating. Stones may also form in the bladder and this can lead to a complete blockage of the urethra and an inability to urinate at all. This is known as acute urinary retention and should be treated as a medical emergency.
As a general rule the presence of enlarged prostate symptoms does not in itself mean that treatment is required and many men will simply live with these symptoms as long as they are not bothered by them too much. This said, enlarged prostate symptoms can also indicate the presence of other problems, or indeed mask other problems, and it is always advisable to consult your doctor and get an accurate diagnosis before deciding to let things be.
For further information about enlarged prostate symptoms please visit Prostate Cancer Explained