The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system. Many individuals will develop an enlarged prostate during their lifetime, typically after age 50. Today we will discuss some things you can do at home that may help reduce symptoms of BPH and manage the condition.
Symptoms of BPH
BPH can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms. This is caused by the enlarged prostate putting pressure on the bladder or urethra. This may cause you to feel like you need to urinate more often (urinary frequency), an inability to hold your urine for very long (urinary urgency), and/or an increased need to wake up during the night to urinate (nocturia). You may also find it difficult to start the urine stream or completely empty the bladder. You may experience urinary tract infections or urinary incontinence. Sexual dysfunction is also associated with BPH. These symptoms can impact your quality of life.
Improving urine flow
There are several things you can do to improve bladder emptying at home. First, prepare yourself to urinate. Take a moment to notice any muscle tension in your body and try to relax it. Especially focus on relaxing muscle tension around the groin or buttock areas. Take a few deep breaths as you relax your muscles. This calming of both mind and body is beneficial because anxiety about your symptoms can make them worse. Try not to rush or put too much pressure on yourself.
Double voiding can help with fully emptying the bladder. This is performed by urinating as much as possible, relaxing for a few seconds, and then urinating again.
Some individuals may find that sitting on the toilet instead of standing can improve urine flow.
If you are unable to fully empty your bladder, your doctor may recommend using an intermittent catheter. An intermittent catheter is a small, flexible tube used to drain the bladder, so it does not overfill. It is inserted into the bladder through the urethra and then removed once the urine has been drained from the bladder. Some people use an intermittent catheter multiple times throughout the day to empty the bladder. Others may only need to use it once a day to drain out any residual urine that could not make it past the enlarged prostate. Addressing residual urine may help reduce the risk of UTI and overflow incontinence. A quality medical supply company such as ABC Medical can help you explore types of catheters for men with enlarged prostates, including male external catheters.
Reducing tension and improving overall health through regular exercise can relieve stress. It can also help you maintain a healthy body weight, which may improve BPH symptoms.
Kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles around the bladder and improve bladder control. Strengthening these muscles will not correct BPH, but it can give you more control when trying to make it to the bathroom. It can also reduce dribbling after you urinate. Kegel exercises are easy to do and can be performed anywhere. Mayo Clinic offers insight into learning Kegel exercises, which you can read by clicking this link.
There is evidence that choosing a heart-healthy Mediterranean-style diet may improve prostate health. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish and other sources of healthy omega-3 fats. The Mediterranean diet is low in sugar, red meat, and processed foods. This type of diet has many benefits and may also reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake may help reduce symptoms, as these beverages may irritate the bladder and stimulate the urge to urinate.
Find a Urologist
If you are experiencing urinary symptoms and believe you may have BPH, talk to your primary care doctor about seeing a urologist. A urologist is a medical doctor that specializes in conditions of the urinary tract, including BPH and sexual dysfunction. Having a urologist as part of your care team can help you explore all options for BPH management. Doctors often prescribe alpha blockers, which relax the muscle at the base of the prostate and bladder, or 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, which can help shrink the prostate over time. These medications may reduce symptoms of BPH. There are also surgical procedures that can help.
Remember that there is no shame in seeking help for BPH or other male specific issues. A healthier and more comfortable lifestyle is possible, so take the first step with your doctor and ABC Medical today.
Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical advice, please speak with your healthcare provider.