Knowing when to seek medical treatment for enlarged prostate symptoms
Jan 20, 2012, 8:40 a.m.
An enlarged prostate, while sometimes bothersome and worrisome to many, is par for the course for many men as they grow older. Statistics tell us that half of all men over the age of 50 will experience enlarged prostate symptoms, and the older you get the higher your chances -- 80 percent of men over the age of 80 will have some sort of minor to moderate prostrate problems. But these are rarely ever medical emergencies. Men experiencing prostrate problems can also take comfort in the knowledge that having an enlarged prostate is no indication of an elevated risk of developing prostate cancer. But when does an enlarged prostate cross the line from being a discomfort and an inconvenience to a full blown medical emergency?
First, it's important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
- A frequent need to urinate, especially at night. Men experiencing enlarged prostrate problems will often goto the bathroom as many as 10 times per night.
- Experiencing the sudden, urgent need to urinate without any prior bodily warning.
- The feeling of not having fully emptied after using the bathroom.
- Having a weak stream of urine.
- Difficulty starting the urination flow or straining to urinate.
- Frequent stopping and starting of the flow.
- Continued dribbling when finished.
These are all typical symptoms that are experienced by men who have an enlarged prostate. Even though most are mere annoyances, it's always a good idea to pay a visit to your doctor to rule out any other possibilities, like urinary tract infections which can cause health issues if not treated. However, there is one prostate related symptom that is considered an all-out medical emergency -- the inability to urinate.
The inability to pass urine is caused when the urethra becomes enlarged to the point where urine flow is cut off entirely. If this occurs, immediate medical attention is required -- without it, the problem could turn lethal in a very short amount of time. With all of this in mind, it's important to note that these kinds of medical emergencies are in the minority. However, that doesn't get you off the hook for visiting your doctor and having a routine yearly prostate examination done, which is recommended for all men over the age of 50. African American males, who are at higher risk for prostate cancer, as well as men who have a family history of prostate cancer, should start having their annual test at the age of 40.
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