“No matter how much you shake, the last drop is always in the pants!” The old inscription in the toilet gives a straightforward account of what is in store for men with the lapse of time. For, starting from the age of 40, the prostate in many men begins growing.
Since this small gland is located directly under the bladder and encompasses the urethra, the problems are programmed. There are, first of all, difficulties with urination. Urination occurs with a delay, the urinary stream becomes weak. The process often takes more time. The urine will drip until the bladder is completely empty. Nighttime urges to urinate, sleep disturbances, fatigue and, as a result, sluggishness, are particularly burdensome for many patients.
“Many men really perceive themselves as slaves to their prostate,” says urologist Professor Dr. Rolf Mushter, Chief Physician at the Agaplesion Diakonieklinikum Rotenburg hospital. First of all, in cases when the enlarged gland puts pressure on the bladder and constantly causes urges to urinate, although the bladder is either almost or completely empty.
“No matter how burdensome these symptoms are, the enlargement of the prostate is not dangerous,” says Mushter. Nevertheless, men with such symptoms should not put off their visit to the doctor.
If during palpation of the prostate, an ultrasound examination, as well as in blood and urine tests there are no signs of complications, and the symptoms are not acute, you can postpone further therapeutic measures.
If the pain is not very severe, you can sometimes help with a couple of simple actions. Annoying urges to urinate, for example, can be reduced by drinking a little liquid (or not drinking it at all) before going to bed or leaving the house. Coffee and alcohol have a diuretic effect and irritate the mucous membrane. Reducing the consumption of these beverages can also have a positive effect.
Many men with prostate problems expect to cope on their own by using herbal medicines. The active ingredients derived from lilac, pumpkin medicinal or nettle are especially popular. Although not all studies can confirm the unambiguous benefits of these drugs, in some cases it is possible to achieve improvements with their help.
With pronounced symptoms or if there are other symptoms, such as blood in the urine, fever or pain, in case of a sudden urinary retention or persistent inflammation of the urinary tract, you should immediately visit an urologist. The specialist will be able to recognize possible complications in time and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
To alleviate the symptoms of the enlarged prostate, the doctor uses various prescription drugs, such as the so-called Alpha blockers which relax the muscles of the prostate, bladder and urethra. Or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors that block the formation of a particular hormone responsible for the growth of the prostate. However, the effect of taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors does not show immediately, but only after taking them for many months. What drugs the doctor will prescribe in the end depends more on the symptoms than on the size of the prostate gland. A combination of different active ingredients may be useful.
If the symptoms persist when taking the medication, surgery may help. Transurethral resection of the prostate, removal (resection) of prostate tissue through the urethra, is considered to be a standard. The operation is performed under general anaesthesia or spinal anaesthesia. The doctor inserts a thin tube through the urethra and removes the prostate tissue with a loop or laser. Currently, surgery to treat an enlarged prostate is very rarely required.
For some time the method of strainer placement has been tested. The prostate tissue, also through the urethra, is tightened with threads, thereby reducing the pressure on the urethra. It is still unclear how long the effect lasts. Health insurance funds do not pay for this intervention.
In addition, the urologist Rolf Mushter recommends that, in any case, the necessary intervention should not be delayed. The earlier the surgery is performed, the less the risk of complications is.