An enlarged prostate isn’t usually serious, but it can be uncomfortable to live with.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits at the base of a man’s bladder. It can get bigger as you age and as it does, it can press on your bladder and urethra. An enlarged prostate is most common in men over 50 and is linked to being overweight, having diabetes or having a close relative with it.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
While it’s usually harmless, it can keep you up at night and have an impact on your day to day life.
Here are seven tips to help you manage the condition.
Drinking lots of water might seem counterintuitive if you’re trying to manage a condition that makes you urinate more, but it can help. When you’re dehydrated, your urine is more concentrated. This can irritate the lining of your bladder and make it feel like you always need to urinate.
Drinking enough water will help look after your bladder so it can hold more for longer. The NHS advises drinking six to eight glasses of fluids every day.
Low temperatures can make your symptoms worse and make you feel like you need to urinate more often. In winter, make sure you wear warm clothes and avoid sitting on cold surfaces for a long time, such as outdoor benches.
Stress can worsen your symptoms. It can affect your ability to urinate or it can make you need to go to the toilet more often. Some men find they get into a cycle of worrying about their symptoms, which in turn makes the symptoms worse.
Try to find things that help you calm down if you start to feel stressed, such as breathing exercises, getting some fresh air or listening to calming music.
If you sit down for long periods of the day, you may find it makes your symptoms worse, as you're putting pressure on your prostate.
If you work at a desk, you could try a height-adjustable desk that allows you to stand while working. If that isn’t possible, make sure you take regular breaks and get up and walk around.
An enlarged prostate can make you urinate more. If you, therefore, drink too close to bedtime you might find that your sleep is disrupted because you need to get up to go to the toilet.
Avoid drinking in the two hours before you go to bed unless you feel thirsty. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics (substances that increase urine production), so you should definitely avoid them near bedtime.
When you go to the toilet, urinate as much as you can, wait for two minutes and then try to go a second time. This is an effective technique for emptying your bladder more thoroughly and should mean you need to visit the bathroom less frequently. It's called double-voiding.
Eating well and exercising will help you maintain a healthy weight, which will help reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It will also reduce your chances of developing a host of serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A healthy diet is primarily made up of fruit and vegetables, whole grain carbohydrates and healthy protein, such as fish, eggs and beans. Some fat is important too, but it should come from healthy sources, such as olive oil, nuts and avocados. You should also try to minimise how much sugar and salt you eat.
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