BLOG

There are countless medical conditions that may require the use of intermittent catheters. One of those conditions is benign prostatic hyperplasia. Also referred to as BPH, this condition is common in men over 60 years old and refers to the occurrence of an enlarged, non-cancerous prostate gland. Although not all men who develop BPH will not experience blockage issues, this can be a concern for many patients.

However, there's another reason to worry: according to data, fewer than half of men with BPH experience lower urinary tract symptoms, and some men may not know they have a blockage until they are unable to urinate. That's why it's imperative for men over age 40 or with a family history of BPH to have regular prostate exams. For those who want to learn more about this condition, here's what you should know:

What causes benign prostatic hyperplasia?

The causes of this condition are a bit of a mystery, but we do know that it occurs mainly in older males. And because BPH doesn't occur in men who have had their testicles removed prior to puberty, some researchers think that the condition is connected to both aging and the testicles. It may also be connected to the lowered amount of testosterone that older men produce; some studies suggest that the higher levels of estrogen promote prostate cell growth. Others believe that the male hormone DHT plays a role. Although more research needs to be done in order to definitively say what causes BPH, physicians do know how to address complications from the condition with urinary catheters and other urological supplies.

What are some symptoms of BPH?

Men who experience lower urinary tract symptoms that suggest BPH include urinary frequency and urgency, trouble urinating, weak or interrupted urination, frequent urination during sleep periods, urinary retention and incontinence, pain after ejaculation or during urination, or urine of unusual color or smell. The symptoms of BPH typically stem from a blocked urethra or an overworked bladder due to a blockage. However, some of these symptoms can be caused by medicines containing decongestants or antihistamines, as well as cold temperatures or alcohol consumption. And, as stated, many men don't experience any early symptoms at all.

Does BPH have serious health risks?

Complications of BPH can include chronic urinary retention, bloody urine, UTIs, damage to the bladder and kidneys, and bladder stones. While most men don't develop these complications, they can pose a serious health risk when they occur. To reduce these risks, it's important to have a proper diagnosis, treatment, and equipment from your physician or medical supply store.

How is BPH treated?

Treatment varies depending on the patient, but may include lifestyle changes, medications, minimally invasive procedures involving urinary male catheters, or surgery. Your doctor will assess your treatment options based on your symptoms and your wishes to improve your quality of life. If your symptoms are not impacting you in a significant way, your doctor may recommend small changes and regular check-ups. If they are presenting real problems or become a health risk, you may be a good candidate for a urinary catheter.

If you suspect you may be suffering from BPH, make an appointment with your physician right away. And for urinary catheters and other medical supplies, check out our urological supply store or contact us today for more information.