As we age our bodies start changing. Our skin is not as smooth as it used to be and we begin noticing small things happening to our bodies that didn’t happen before. For example if you’re a man and have the urge to urinate at night frequently, that can mean that you have an enlarged prostate. It’s actually more common than you think and in fact nearly half of men have an enlarged prostate or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) by the age of 50.
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BPH is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate that blocks the flow of urine. When this happens prostate cells multiply gradually, adding pressure on the urethra and the bladder has a difficult time pushing urine out of the body. As men age the muscles in the bladder can become stronger, thicker, and very sensitive. It begins to contract even when it has small amounts of urine. Eventually the bladder can’t handle the narrowed urethra so urine stays in the bladder and it’s not completely emptied out.
What are the symptoms?
- Frequent trips to the bathroom, especially at night
- Difficulty urinating even though you have the urge
- Urinary stream that is weak, slow, or that starts and stops
- Feeling of not being able to fully empty your bladder
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit your doctor for a clear diagnosis. After the age of 40, you should have a prostate cancer screening or a rectal exam.
One of the things to remember when you have an enlarged prostate is to not hold it in. If you have to go to the bathroom, make sure you go immediately and empty out your bladder completely.
According to the Mayo Clinic, eating vegetables that are high in vitamin C and zinc are best to prevent BPH and relieving its symptoms. There are also supplements that you can take like rye grass pollen extract that help relax the muscles and can help you get up less at night to urinate.
There have been many studies about the enlarged prostate and prostate cancers and some research suggests that prostate cancer can be linked to diet and environment. Men who keep a healthy weight, eat fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in lycopene and selenium have lower rates of cancer, than those who eat a poor diet high in saturated fats and a lot of red meat.