Ask the experts

What is BPH?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH, is a common condition where the prostate gland becomes enlarged.

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and is normally about the size of a walnut. The main job of the prostate is to make fluid for semen. The prostate is located around a tube called the urethra. Since the urethra carries urine from the bladder out through the penis, an enlarged prostate can cause urination issues for men. BPH is common in aging men. About half of all men between the ages of 51 and 60 have BPH, and up to 90 percent of men over age 80 have BPH.

BPH is benign. This means it’s not cancer. While BPH may cause problems and discomfort for men, it’s usually not a life-threatening issue. There is no sure way to prevent BPH, but losing weight, being physically active and eating a healthy diet, with fruits and vegetables, may help prevent BPH. 

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Kevin McVary, MD, FACS, is the Chair of the Division of Urology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois. 

What could a Weak Urine Flow be telling me about my Health?

Problems with starting or keeping a steady stream of urine can affect men and women of all ages. For men, the most common cause of this issue is BPH. Issues with weak urine flow will typically mean the bladder is not emptying properly. With BPH, this is because the enlarged prostate is blocking the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the penis. 

Weak bladder muscles can cause the bladder to not empty properly when they can’t contract enough to empty out urine. Patients with diseases that affect the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis (MS) may also be at risk for bladder issues that affect urination.

For women, a condition called bladder prolapse, or cystocele, may cause problems with urination streams. In this condition, the bladder can drop and bulge through pelvic floor muscles and tissue into the vagina. It’s vital to seek help if you have issues such as painful urination, cloudy urine or blood in your urine. These could signal an infection of the urinary tract, prostate or something else even more serious.

Dr. Tomas L. Griebling, MD is a Urologist and Residency Program Director in the Department of Urology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. 

What is OAB?

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition that affects millions of people. Overactive bladder isn’t a disease. It’s the name of a group of urinary symptoms. The most common symptom of OAB is a sudden urge to urinate that you may not be able to control. Some people will leak urine when they feel the urge. Leaking urine is called “incontinence.” Having to go to the bathroom many times during the day and night is also a symptom of OAB.

Another common bladder problem called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is different from OAB. People with SUI leak urine while coughing, laughing, perhaps stepping off a steep curb or doing other physical activities. 

About 33 million Americans have overactive bladder symptoms, but the real number of people with OAB may be much larger. That’s because many people living with OAB don’t ask for help. Treatment choices for OAB include lifestyle changes, medical and surgical treatments and managing leakage with products and devices. 

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Lindsey Kerr, MD is the Director of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.  |  FALL 2017  |  UROLOGYHEALTH extra