Tips on coping with an enlarged prostate
Coping with enlarged prostate. Many men over 50 years old have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition where an enlarged prostate causes urinary issues such as difficulty starting to urinate, or a weak urine stream. While there are medical treatments to shrink or relax the prostate to cure such problems, men can also follow a few simple steps to alleviate and cope with them.
Reduce fluid intake after dinner
Limit the need to urinate during the night by minimising the amount of fluids you drink in the evening. Avoid fluids altogether in the two hours before bed. It is better to drink sufficient fluids during the day.
Cut back on caffeine and other bladder stimulants
Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which means that they increase the speed of urine production. The faster the bladder fills up with urine, the more quickly it can become overwhelmed, creating a strong and urgent need to urinate.
Alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks and some acidic foods such as tomatoes stimulate the bladder, causing more urgent and frequent urination.
Practice healthy bladder urination
Urinate when there is a need to, and try to empty the bladder fully to avoid frequent returns to the toilet. One way to ensure that your bladder is empty is by practising “double voiding”: after urinating once, try to pass urine immediately again to empty the bladder more completely.
Do pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises)
Doing Kegel exercises can also contribute to better bladder control. This involves contracting the muscle that starts and stops the flow of urine, holding it for five to 10 seconds, and repeating this action five to 15 times, three to five times a day.
Get checked for cancer
While changes in urination patterns could be due to BPH, they could also be caused by more serious conditions such as prostate cancer, and this should be checked by a doctor.
The blood test for protein-specific antigen (PSA) measures the amount of PSA, which is produced by both non-cancerous and malignant prostate cells, in the blood. The higher the PSA level, the higher the chance that a man may have or develop prostate cancer. Further tests are done to establish the cause if the test result shows an unusually high PSA level.
This article has been fact-checked by Dr Chong Kian Tai, consultant urologist of Surgi-TEN Specialists at Farrer Park Hospital.