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How To Tell If You Have An Enlarged Prostate
No matter how physically healthy or unhealthy you are, if you're a man over the age of forty-five, there is a 50 percent chance you have prostate enlargement. Doctors call it benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
That's right... a 50% chance!
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate are often painful, embarrassing, and frustrating. The most common symptoms are:
* A frequent and often urgent need to urinate
* A frustrating inability to completely empty the bladder
* A weak urine stream, and painful or bloody urination.
But the most frustrating symptom is the frequent nighttime urge to urinate that results in sleep-disrupting visits to the bathroom.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you're not alone. Each year, as many as 12 million American men suffer from symptoms of prostate enlargement that are so agonizing they are forced to seek medical treatment!
In fact, in America today, four out of five American men are likely to develop prostate problems during their lifetime. And those problems aren't limited to BPH. Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) can occur in males of any age after puberty. And, unfortunately, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among American males, developed by 19 out of every 100 men.
Yes, the statistics are frightening. According to Michael B. Schachter, M.D. in The Natural Way to a Healthy Prostate, it is estimated that "the prostate gland accounts for more than 5.5 million doctor visits, 950,000 hospitalizations and 43,500 prostate-related deaths a year."
Until recently, your first line of defense against BPH was conventional drugs or surgery, most of which came with a laundry list of horrifying side-effects that include permanent impotence, incontinence, and even death!
The good news is... there are now natural treatments available to treat prostate conditions that are safe, effective alternatives to these conventional prescription drugs or surgery.
But if you suspect you are suffering from prostate problems, the very first thing to do is have your doctor or urologist accurately diagnose your condition.
There are several examinations to detect prostate enlargement and/or other prostate conditions. Some of these methods are referred to by their initials.
Digital Rectal Exam
Digital rectal exam (or DRE) is usually the first test done. And it's just what it says: your doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum and feels the part of the prostate next to the rectum. A DRE exam can give a general idea of the size and condition of the gland, but it's not highly reliable in detecting prostate enlargement, since the part of the prostate that presses on the urethra can't be felt by DRE. It is, however, more useful in diagnosing prostatitis or detecting prostate cancer.
These are initials you'll hear tossed around a lot in relation to prostates. They stand for Prostate Specific Antigen, a protein produced by both benign and malignant prostate cells. The PSA test measures the amount of this protein in the blood. Heightened PSA levels can occur in BPH, prostatitis and prostate cancer. The test is not highly reliable, but it is considered to be more useful in detecting prostate cancer than BPH or prostatitis. Nevertheless, it's a part of the alphabet you should be familiar with.
Urinary Flow Rate Measurement
The patient urinates into a special device that measures how quickly urine is flowing. The peak flow rate—when the urine is flowing fastest—is a more specific indication of BPH than the average rate of flow. Ultrasound This is usually only used if there is a suspicion of prostate cancer. A probe in the rectum directs sound waves at the prostate, and echo patterns of those waves form an image of the prostate on a display screen.
American Urologic Association Symptom Index
The American Urologic Association has developed a symptom index (AUASI) that has become the standard test to assess symptoms of BPH.
This symptom index is a series of questions that help determine the severity of urinary symptoms and is used by urologists around the country.
If you are looking for any more specific information about how to tell if you have an enlarged prostate or what steps you need to take if you do, please feel free to visit our web site.
About the Author: James Witman is an expert in nutrition and prostate health. He has written many articles related to men's health conditions including prostate health and many others. To learn more, please visit his website www.prostatehealthtips.com.