About 50% of men ages 51 to 60 have an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign (meaning it's not cancer) prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. At ages 70 and older, it hits 80%.
A lot of guys think the discomfort and frequent urination it causes are just a part of aging, and not worth talking to a doctor about. But they’re wrong.
The prostate continually enlarges because it's fueled by testosterone and its metabolites. As it grows, it presses against the bladder and the urethra, causing urine retention in the bladder. That triggers urgency, as the bladder gets very full, and often disturbs sleep.
Ignoring the symptoms can cause serious problems, including bladder and kidney failure, needing a catheter, or even dialysis, according to Penn State Health Specialty Services.
Fortunately, there are many ways to relieve the pressure on the bladder, ranging from medications that relax the bladder's neck muscles and muscle fibers in the prostate, or medications that decrease levels of active testosterone, shrinking the prostate.
There are also effective surgical options.
But the best news may be the availability of a new 15-minute, catheter-free, outpatient procedure called iTind. A temporary stent is placed in the prostatic urethra, and it slowly expands over the course of a week. It is then removed — and the obstruction is gone.
Over the three years it's been available, it has proved to provide continued relief.
If you're experiencing changes in your urination, get your prostate checked and talk to a urologist about the best way to find effective, enduring relief.