Matt looking concerned in the bathroom

Why Your Man Spends So Much Time in the Bathroom

Urination is an important function of the body, but as men age it can become more difficult, time consuming, and frustrating. Urination may be painful, difficult, or impossible for men due to various causes such as an enlarged prostate due to Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Men tend to suffer in silence with urination problems.

A man may be unable to urinate due to an enlarged prostate, a spinal cord injury, medical condition or even a stroke. If the muscles of the bladder and urethra are weak, then urination may be difficult for men. Some men have trouble emptying their bladder leading to an increased urge or frequency to urinate.

Waking up during the night to pee several times is a reality for many men. What men may not know is that this could be a sign of an enlarged prostate. In this article, we are going to focus specifically on the problems an enlarged prostate can cause, and how to find relief.

What is a Urologist

A urologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the urinary system and the male reproductive organs. Urologists may also provide general medical care for men. Some of the most common problems that urologists treat include urinary tract infections, bladder cancer, kidney stones, and prostate enlargement.

What is a Prostate Gland

The prostate is a male reproductive gland located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. The prostate helps produce semen by mixing its fluids with sperm produced by the testicles.

For men who are twenty five or older, the prostate begins to grow. The prostate is the largest gland in the body. It can be up to 3 inches (8 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. When the prostate is healthy, the gland produces a milky-white substance called prostatic fluid. This fluid drains from the urethra and joins with semen to create semen¬≠containing fluids. A man’s prostate grows in size as he ages.

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in older men that results from an overgrowth of prostate tissue. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder that helps produce semen. As men age, the prostate may grow larger and press on the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body). This can cause difficulty in urinating, such as a weak urine stream or the need to urinate frequently, especially at night. BPH is not cancer, but it can lead to other problems such as urinary tract infection or bladder stones.

Showing a healthy prostate and one with benign prostatic hyperplasia
Image from: https://dinerroboticurology.com/blog/prostate/bph-diagnosis/

This condition is common in men over 50 years old, but the prostate commonly starts to at about 25 years old. BPH can cause problems with urination. Men who have problems urinating experience symptoms such as trouble starting or stopping the stream of urine, a weak urinary stream, and a feeling that the bladder has not been emptied completely after urination. 

A urologist can diagnose BPH by doing a physical exam and by ordering blood and urine tests. The urologist may also order an ultrasound or a CT scan of the prostate. A urologist may also or urodynamic testing to diagnose BPH. Urodynamics can also help determine the cause of BPH and its progression.

Showing an illustration of the urodynamics test used to measure urine output for conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia
Image from: https://www.dralicewhittaker.com.au/pdfs/urodynamic-testing.pdf

Common Treatments for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

There are several treatments available for BPH, including medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Lifestyle changes include diet, exercise, lowering alcohol and caffeine consumption, and quitting smoking. Surgery is also an option to help with BPH.

There are many medication options that can treat Benign prostatic hyperplasia. These medications are broken down into different categories such as alpha blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARI), Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, and combination therapy.

  • Alpha blockers help to relieve these symptoms by relaxing the muscles around the prostate, making it easier for urine to flow. Some common alpha blockers include: doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax), alfuzosin (Uroxatral), and terazosin (Hytrin).
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARI) are medications that block the production of testosterone in the body. This can help shrink the prostate and improve urinary flow. Some common 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARI) include: finasteride, dutasteride, and tamsulosin.
  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors work by relaxing the muscles in the prostate and bladder, which can improve urine flow and reduce symptoms of BPH. The most common type of phosphodiesterase inhibitor is called a PDE5 inhibitor.
  • Combination therapy is a form of treatment that combines several different medications to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia. For example Jalyn is a fixed dose combination of dutasteride and tamsulosin.

While all of these medications are effective for treating BPH, they may not be appropriate for everyone, so it is important to talk to your urologist or doctor about which option is right for you.

Supplements for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing BPH, supplements may be an effective option for some men. Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that has been shown to be effective in treating BPH. It can be found in supplements such as saw palmetto, pygeum bark extract, and pumpkin seed oil. These supplements help to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is thought to play a role in the development of BPH. These supplements are found at your local vitamin or natural food stores. Talk to your urologist or doctor before starting any supplement routine

Showing benefits of the saw palmetto plant including prostate health for conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia
Image from: https://www.herbazest.com/wellness-articles/4-ways-saw-palmetto-can-help

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to understand the reasons behind your man’s long bathroom visits. A urologist can help diagnose any problems with the prostate gland, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. Common treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia include medications and supplements. It may be difficult for a man to talk about problems that he has in the bathroom and many decide to suffer in silence. If your man is spending too much time in the bathroom, talk to him about it. Let him know that it may be a treatable condition and there are specialists like urologists that can help. He does not need to suffer any longer. Let’s help him turn his situation positive!

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