Prostate

Overview

In regard to prostate health, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common concern among men. BPH is a condition of prostate gland enlargement leading to bothersome urinary symptoms. About 25% of men over 40 have BPH, but this increases to more than 80% between the ages of 70 and 79. According to 2007 data, BPH is responsible for 1.9 million medical visits and many trips to the emergency department. More than 50% of men over 60 and approximately 90% of men over the age of 80 have lower urinary tract obstruction due to prostate enlargement.

The main function of the prostate is to facilitate male fertility. The prostate, through a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), helps to liquefy the ejaculate and promote sperm motility. A breakdown in cellular regulation occurs with aging, allowing prostate cells to proliferate and promote the formation of additional smooth muscle tissue. This increases the overall muscle tone of the prostate, which can contribute to blockage of the urinary tract. Imbalanced hormone levels are known to contribute to BPH as well.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

BPH can cause significant urinary symptoms in men, such as a weak urinary stream, urinary hesitancy (delay in initiating urination), involuntary cessation of urination, straining to void, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. Blockage of the urethra, the tube through which urine leaves the body, by the prostate can also affect the bladder. This may result in increased urinary frequency or urgency, a need to urinate during the night, bladder pain, painful urination, and/or incontinence.

The first step in evaluating patients with BPH-related symptoms includes a complete overview of the patient's general medical, neurological, and urological history, as well as their fluid and caffeine consumption, to rule out other causes of urinary tract symptoms. Medications should also be reviewed, since antihistamines and diuretics may cause urinary symptoms.

Medical Treatment

Pharmacological treatment options can be employed for men who have moderate-to-severe and/or bothersome symptoms after consideration of the risks and benefits. Currently, four different classes of medications are used to treat BPH. Some effectively increase urinary flow rate and relieve BPH symptoms by decreasing smooth muscle tone of the bladder and prostate. Others block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, helping to shrink the prostate and prevent further growth. Many of these medications have side effects, such as low blood pressure, dizziness, and erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, these medications do not prevent BPH progression and are usually only effective for up to 4 years.

BPH can also be treated surgically to either remove or reduce the prostate's size, thereby relieving lower urinary tract symptoms.

How We Can Help

There are many ways men can reduce their risk of developing urinary symptoms associated with BPH.

Through a low-fat diet, increased vegetable intake, and regular exercise, risks of developing BPH are significantly decreased. Weight loss and blood sugar control illustrate a direct relationship between body weight and prostate size. Obese or diabetic men are more likely to develop symptoms of BPH as increases in weight, BMI, and waist circumference are all associated with a higher incidence of BPH.

At Divine Design, we recognize the body's ability to heal and restore normal function through the use of chiropractic adjustments and specific nutritional supplementation. Through prevention and conservatively addressing BPH in the early stages, patients can make significant impacts on the long-term outcome of this condition.