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“I Gotta Go” Sounding Familiar These Days?

By Lance Patrick Walsh, MD, Ph.D.

You’ve seen the commercials and have possibly even joked with friends about a “Flomax moment.” We see men playing golf or enjoying other activities who are constantly interrupted by their urgent need to find a restroom.

If you find yourself in this scenario more often nowadays, you are not alone. Over 70% of men in their 60s experience urinary symptoms1 and more than 500 million men worldwide are affected by this common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

  • A frequent need to urinate both day and night
  • Weak or slow urinary stream
  • A sense that you cannot completely empty your bladder
  • Difficulty or delay in starting urination
  • Urgent feeling of needing to urinate
  • A urinary stream that stops and starts

Fortunately, the American Urological Association (AUA) has developed a survey which may help you and your doctor understand the severity of your symptoms and if you indeed may be suffering from BPH. The survey can be found at http://urolift.com/understanding-bph/symptom-quiz.

Understanding the Condition

As men age, there are changes they may experience, including enlargement of the prostate. This is a normal occurrence in the aging male. The prostate, which is normally about the size of a walnut, grows from puberty and continues to enlarge over time. The prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system as it secretes prostate fluid, one of the components of semen. It also helps propel the seminal fluid into the urethra during ejaculation. The urethra is the opening through which urine is eliminated from the body. As the prostate enlarges, it may begin to compress the urethra (think pinching the garden hose). This narrows the channel through which urine passes and can create bothersome and uncomfortable urinary symptoms.

BPH is a non-cancerous condition, but can be troubling as it can cause loss of productivity and sleep, depression and decreased quality of life. Treatment options for BPH range from medications to surgery, with minimally invasive options in between. 

If you are experiencing urinary symptoms, I encourage you to take the AUA survey and to speak with your urologist to determine which treatment option is best for you.

Dr. Walsh is a specialist in urology, treating a variety of conditions ranging from cancer of the genitourinary tract (kidney, prostate, bladder) to benign conditions including kidney stone, BPH, incontinence, bladder prolapse, and hematuria. For more information call (760) 346.7191 or visit www.walshurology.com.

Reference: 1.Berry, et al., J Urol 1984 and 2013 U.S. Census worldwide population estimates

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