Nocturia – the frequent need to pee at night – is among the most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate (BPH). Learn why it happens and what you can do to help.
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A man’s prostate never stopes growing. And eventually, that growth keeps a lot of men up at night.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate, is the leading reason men visit a urologist. As many as half of all men by the age of 60 experience symptoms of BPH, which include trouble starting to urinate, a weak pee stream, and frequent urination at night.
That last symptom – the need to get up and pee at night, interrupting sleep – is a form of nocturia, or more specifically, nocturnal urinary frequency. It may sound like the title of a symphony, but nocturia is not restful. In fact, it is among the most common hints that a prostate is growing large enough to interfere with normal urinary functions.
The prostate sits at the base of the bladder and behind the penis, and through its center runs the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate is normally the size of a walnut, but it can begin to enlarge when a man approaches his 40s and 50s. Over a period of time, this growth could potentially block the urethra.
The good news is BPH is non-cancerous. However, its symptoms could become more than a nuisance. In fact, frequent and troubled urination patterns can affect one’s health in other ways:
If caught early, nocturia-related symptoms of BPH can be treated non-invasively. Lifestyle modifications, such as changing diet and Kegel exercises, are a likely start. Medications, including muscle relaxants, also can treat mild to moderate BPH.
For more severe urinary symptoms related to advanced cases of BPH, several surgical options are available. These include small UroLift implants, an outpatient procedure, as well as prostate tissue removal. The latter procedure can be performed via robotic surgery, lasers, or through a narrow tube.
Treatment is necessary not only to monitor the prostate’s growth, but also to ensure a good night’s sleep. This too will improve overall health and recovery, and ideally make nocturia a sleepy memory.
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