Can't hold it in?

Painful: About 50% of men develop enlarged prostate problems by the time they turn 50, writes Dr Manohar T

Can't hold it in?

Raju, a 40-year-old, would sleep like a baby, and nothing would disturb his sleep. However, after a while, he repeatedly started getting up in the night to go to the bathroom. Slowly, these nightly bathroom trips became more and more frequent, eventually affecting his daytime routine. He had trouble even sitting through a flight or a meeting without the constant need to go to the washroom.

According to statistics, 50% of men develop enlarged prostate problems by the time they reach 50. Prostate enlargement gets very common as men age. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland, makes urination difficult and uncomfortable. By the age of 60, most men have some degree of BPH.

Studies suggest that by the time men reach the age of 85, they develop 90% chances of having urination problems caused by BPH. Though BPH is generally the cause of enlarged prostate, at times, prostate cancer can also be the reason behind it.

BPH, prostate cancer or prostatitis, cannot be treated if it is not detected. Not all prostate problems require immediate treatment; active surveillance, in lieu of immediate treatment, is an option that should be considered for some men.

The symptoms
Various prostate problems often have similar symptoms. For example, one patient with BPH and another that has prostatitis may both have an urgent and frequent need for urination. A man with prostatitis may have to frequently urinate at night; and another with BPH may have problems starting a urination stream. Or, a patient at early levels of prostate cancer development may have no prostate symptoms at all. But the most common symptoms are:

  • Feeling of not emptying the bladder fully after urination
  • Discontinuous urination
  • Limited or weak stream of urination
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Decreased ability to hold and gain erections, low ejaculation
  • Loss of appetite, chills and fever
  • Pain in the lower back, in the zone between the anus and testicles, in the upper thighs or lower belly, or above the pubic area.
  • Frequent urination


Even though one prostate condition doesn’t lead to developing another one, knowing prostate disorder symptoms can help in taking appropriate and timely action for your prostate health. Below are a few tips to help prevent prostate enlargement:

  • Consume lean meat and low fat milk
  • Achieve better body circulation
  • Consume food containing selenium and zinc
  • Take nutritional supplements
  • Develop a healthy lifestyle
  • Minimise or exclude alcohol from your lifestyle

(The author is a consultant — urology, Columbia Asia Hospitals)

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