How to Deal with Enlarged Prostate in Young Males: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

Enlarged Prostate in Young Males - Pharmtales

If you are a young man with trouble peeing, you might think you have a urinary infection or a kidney stone. But did you know that it could also be a sign of an enlarged prostate? Yes, you heard that right. An enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is not just a problem for older men. It can also affect younger men under 45, and it can cause a lot of discomfort and frustration.

This article will explain how an enlarged prostate affects the urinary system. We will also provide information on the symptoms, causes and treatment options for enlarged prostate in young males. We aim to help you understand this common health issue and how to deal with it effectively. This article lets you make informed decisions about your health and well-being.

What is an Enlarged Prostate, and How Does It Affect the Urinary System?

The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate produces a fluid that helps make semen, the liquid that carries sperm.

As men age, the prostate tends to grow bigger. This is normal and usually does not cause any problems. However, sometimes the enlarged prostate in young males grows too much and squeezes the urethra. This can interfere with the normal flow of urine and cause symptoms such as:

  • Frequent or urgent need to pee
  • Peeing more often at night
  • Trouble starting to pee
  • Weak or interrupted urine stream
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Not being able to empty the bladder fully

These symptoms can affect the quality of life, sexual function and mental health of young men. They can also lead to complications such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, kidney damage or even kidney failure. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms or if they bother you.

What Causes an Enlarged Prostate in Young Males?

The exact cause of an enlarged prostate in young males is not clear. However, some possible factors that contribute to prostate enlargement are:

  • Genetics: Some men may inherit genes that make them more prone to developing enlarged prostate in young males.
  • Hormones: Changes in the levels of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen may affect the growth of the prostate.
  • Inflammation: Infection or injury to the prostate may cause inflammation and swelling.
  • Other factors: Some studies suggest that diet, obesity, diabetes, smoking and alcohol use may also play a role in enlarged prostate in young males.

Some of the risk factors for developing enlarged prostate in young males are:

  • Ageing: An enlarged prostate gland rarely causes symptoms before age 40. After that, the chance of having an enlarged prostate increases with age.
  • Family history: Having a blood relative with prostate problems makes you more likely to have problems with your prostate.
  • Diabetes and heart disease: These conditions may affect the blood flow to the prostate and increase the risk of enlarged prostate in young males.
  • Ethnicity: Enlarged prostate in young males is more common among men of African or Asian descent than men of European or Hispanic descent.

It is important to note that not all men with an enlarged prostate have symptoms. Some men may have a very large prostate but no problems with urination. Others may have a small prostate but severe symptoms. The prostate size does not always determine how serious the symptoms are.

It is also important to rule out other possible causes of urinary symptoms that may mimic BPH. 

These include:

  • Urethral stricture: A narrowing or scarring of the urethra that can block urine flow.
  • Bladder stones: Hard deposits of minerals that form in the bladder and can irritate or obstruct the urethra.
  • Bladder cancer: A malignant tumour that grows in the lining of the bladder and can cause blood in the urine or pain during urination.
  • Neurological problems: Disorders that affect the nerves that control the bladder and urethra, such as stroke, spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis.
  • Other conditions: Some medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants or opioids, can affect bladder function and cause urinary retention or difficulty urinating.

To diagnose enlarged prostate in young males and rule out other causes, your doctor may perform several tests, such as:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will examine your abdomen, genitals and rectum. He or she will also feel your prostate through your rectum (digital rectal exam) to check its size and shape.
  • Urine test: Your doctor will ask you to provide a urine sample to check for infection, blood or other abnormalities.
  • Blood test: Your doctor will measure your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, a protein produced by the prostate. A high PSA level may indicate BPH, prostate infection or prostate cancer.
  • Uroflowmetry: Your doctor will ask you to pee into a device that measures the speed and volume of your urine flow. A low or variable flow rate may indicate BPH or other obstruction.
  • Post-void residual (PVR) measurement: Your doctor will use an ultrasound device to measure how much urine is left in your bladder after peeing. A high PVR may indicate BPH or poor bladder contraction.
  • Cystoscopy: Your doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light (cystoscope) through your urethra into your bladder. This allows your doctor to see the inside of your urethra and bladder and look for abnormalities.
  • Urodynamic study: Your doctor will insert a small catheter into your bladder and another into your rectum. These catheters will measure the pressure and volume of your bladder and the strength of your bladder muscles. This test can help determine how well your bladder and urethra work.

What are the Treatment Options for an Enlarged Prostate in Young Males?

The treatment for an enlarged prostate in young males depends on several factors, such as:

  • The severity of your symptoms
  • The size of your prostate
  • The presence of any complications
  • Your personal preferences and goals

The main types of treatment options are:

  • Watchful waiting: This means monitoring your condition without any active treatment. This may suit you if you have mild or no symptoms or prefer to avoid medications or surgery. You will need regular check-ups with your doctor and follow some lifestyle changes, such as drinking enough fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly and managing stress.
  • Medications: Several types of medications can help relieve the symptoms of BPH by relaxing the prostate and bladder muscles or shrinking the prostate’s size. These include:
    • Alpha blockers: These drugs relax the smooth muscles of the prostate and bladder neck, which improves the urine flow and reduces the feeling of urgency. Examples are tamsulosin (Flomax), alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura) and terazosin (Hytrin). The most common side effects are dizziness, headache, fatigue and low blood pressure. They may also cause retrograde ejaculation, meaning semen goes back into the bladder instead of coming out of the penis during orgasm. This does not affect fertility or sexual pleasure, but it may be bothersome for some men.
    • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors: These drugs block the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), responsible for prostate growth. They can shrink the size of the prostate by about 20% to 30% over six months to a year. Examples are finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart). The most common side effects are decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and reduced ejaculation volume. They may also lower the PSA level, making it harder to detect prostate cancer.
    • Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors: These drugs are usually used to treat erectile dysfunction. However, they can also improve the urinary symptoms of BPH by increasing the blood flow to the penis and relaxing the smooth muscles of the prostate and bladder. Examples are sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra). They can be taken alone or in combination with alpha-blockers. The most common side effects are headache, flushing, nasal congestion and indigestion. They may also interact with some medications, such as nitrates or alpha-blockers, and cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
  • Minimally invasive procedures: These procedures use heat, water vapour or radio waves to destroy or remove excess prostate tissue without making any cuts on the skin. They can be done in an outpatient setting with local anaesthesia or sedation. They have less risk of complications and faster recovery than surgery, but they may not be as effective or durable. Some examples are:
    • Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT): This procedure uses a microwave antenna inserted through the urethra into the prostate. The antenna emits microwaves that heat up and destroy part of the prostate tissue, which reduces its size and pressure on the urethra. The procedure takes about an hour and may cause discomfort, burning sensation or bleeding during or after urination. You may need a catheter to drain your urine for a few days after the procedure.
    • Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA): This procedure uses a needle-like device inserted through the urethra into the prostate. The device emits radio waves that create heat and destroy part of the prostate tissue, which reduces its size and pressure on the urethra.
  • Water vapour therapy (Rezum): This procedure uses a device inserted through the urethra into the prostate. The device delivers steam that condenses into water and releases heat, which damages the prostate cells and causes them to die and shrink over time. The procedure takes about 10 minutes and may cause discomfort, burning sensation or bleeding during or after urination. You may need a catheter to drain your urine for a few days after the procedure.
  • Surgery: This is the most effective and durable option for treating enlarged prostate in young males but has the most risk of complications and side effects. It involves an incision in the lower abdomen or through the urethra and removing all of the prostate. It requires general or spinal anaesthesia and hospitalisation for a few days. Some examples are:
    • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): This is the most common and standard surgery for BPH. It involves inserting a thin, lighted tube (resectoscope) through the urethra into the prostate. The resectoscope has a wire loop that cuts and removes excess prostate tissue with an electric current. The procedure takes about an hour and may cause bleeding, infection, urinary incontinence or retrograde ejaculation. You will need a catheter to drain your urine for a few days after the surgery.
    • Laser surgery: This is a newer and less invasive alternative to TURP. It involves inserting a thin, lighted tube (laser fiber) through the urethra into the prostate. The laser fiber emits a high-energy light that vaporizes or enucleates excess prostate tissue. The procedure takes about an hour and may cause less bleeding, infection, urinary incontinence or retrograde ejaculation than TURP. You may or may not need a catheter to drain your urine after the surgery.
    • Prostatectomy: This major surgery involves removing the entire prostate gland through an incision in the lower abdomen or between the scrotum and anus. It is usually reserved for men with very large prostates or other complications that cannot be treated with less invasive methods. The procedure takes about two to four hours and may cause more bleeding, infection, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction or retrograde ejaculation than other surgeries. You will need a catheter to drain your urine for one to two weeks after the surgery.

What are Some Natural Remedies for Enlarged Prostate in Young Males?

In addition to medications and procedures, some natural remedies may help with an enlarged prostate in young males’ symptoms by reducing inflammation, improving urine flow or balancing hormones. However, these remedies are not proven effective or safe by scientific studies and may interact with other medications or conditions. Therefore, you should always consult your doctor before trying these remedies. Some examples are:

  • Saw palmetto: This is an extract from the berries of a palm tree that grows in North America. It is believed to block the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, which may reduce prostate growth and improve urine flow. It may also have anti-inflammatory and anti-androgenic effects. The recommended dose is 160 mg twice a day.
  • Pygeum: This is an extract from the bark of an African plum tree that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects on the prostate cells, which may reduce prostate size and improve urine flow. It may also have antioxidant and diuretic effects. The recommended dose is 100 mg twice a day.
  • Beta-sitosterol: This is a plant sterol found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It is similar to cholesterol in structure but has opposite effects on the body. It is supposed to lower cholesterol levels, improve immune function and reduce inflammation in the prostate, which may improve urine flow and reduce urinary symptoms. The recommended dose is 60 to 130 mg per day.

How to Cope with Enlarged Prostate in Young Males?

The enlarged prostate in young males can be challenging for young men who want to enjoy their life and sexuality without worries or limitations. However, some tips can help you cope with BPH symptoms and improve your quality of life, such as:

  • Drink enough fluids: Drinking enough water can help flush out bacteria from your urinary tract and prevent dehydration, which can worsen BPH symptoms. However, avoid drinking too much fluids before bedtime or before going out, as this can increase your urge to pee at night or when you are away from home.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can irritate your bladder and increase your urine production, worsening BPH symptoms. They can also interfere with some medications or procedures for BPH. Therefore, limit or avoid these drinks, especially in the evening or before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise can help improve your blood circulation, strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, reduce your stress levels and enhance your mood, which can all benefit your urinary and sexual health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, but avoid exercises that pressure your pelvic area, such as cycling or rowing.
  • Manage stress: Stress can trigger or worsen BPH symptoms by increasing your blood pressure, tightening your pelvic muscles and affecting your hormone levels. Therefore, try to manage your stress by practising relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga or massage. You can also seek professional help if you have anxiety or depression that affects your daily functioning.
  • Communicate with your partner: Having BPH can affect your sexual function and intimacy. You may experience erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, reduced libido or pain during sex. These problems can cause frustration, embarrassment or resentment in yourself or your partner. Therefore, it is important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner about your feelings and needs. You can also seek counselling or therapy if you have relationship issues that affect your sexual satisfaction.


Conclusion

An enlarged prostate is a common health issue affecting young men under 45. It can cause urinary symptoms that can affect the quality of life, sexual function and mental health of young men. It can also lead to complications such as urinary tract infection, bladder stones, kidney damage or kidney failure.

The treatment for an enlarged prostate depends on the severity of symptoms, the size of the prostate, the presence of complications and the patient’s personal preferences. The main treatment options are watchful waiting, medications, minimally invasive procedures and surgery. Some natural remedies may also help with BPH symptoms by reducing inflammation, improving urine flow or balancing hormones.

It is important to consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment of BPH. It is also important to follow some lifestyle changes to help cope with BPH symptoms and improve the quality of life, such as drinking enough fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly, managing stress and communicating with your partner.

We hope this article has provided helpful information on how to deal with an enlarged prostate in young males. If you have any comments or questions on this topic, please share them below. We would love to hear from you!

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