DuPage Medical Group urologist offers 6 common urinary health symptoms for men
Urinary changes are often a natural consequence of aging that men face worldwide. As we mark Men's Health Month, it's important for males to recognize some of the top urinary concerns they can experience while actively aging.
All men age differently, but many healthy individuals begin to have urinary issues around ages 60-80. Men with a family history of urinary troubles may also be susceptible to presenting symptoms as early as age 40 or 50.
Frequency, nocturia, urgency, overactive bladder, slow stream and retention are six common urinary health symptoms men experience as they get older.
Other causes of these bladder symptoms that aren't directly related to the prostate are usually neurologic conditions, such as Parkinsonism, strokes, multiple sclerosis and neurological trauma.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia tends to be a frequent trigger of these urinary symptoms.
Did you know over 40 percent of men in their 50s and over 70 percent of men in their 60s suffer from benign prostatic hyperplasia? As men age, their prostate generally grows, creating a greater resistance to their urinary flow from their bladder. Bladder symptoms occur due to their prostate enlarging, which presses on and blocks their urethra.
Urinating more than usual, including getting up multiple times in the middle of the night (nocturia), is often a struggle for aging men.
• Urgency/over-active bladder
For some older men, they can experience a sudden, compelling urge to urinate. This symptom can escalate to an immediate, unstoppable need to urinate because the muscular wall of their bladder contracts without control. If a man's bladder pressure becomes too high, he may not be able to manage his bladder, potentially resulting in urinary incontinence--the lack of bladder control.
• Slow stream/retention
When a man urinates, his urinary flow is the result of his bladder contraction pressure overcoming the strength of his stream through prostate resistance. The higher the prostate resistance, the slower his urinary flow. If the prostate resistance pressure exceeds the bladder pressure, a man can't eliminate his bladder completely and he experiences urinary retention.
As men actively age, their prostate glands grow and the prostate resistance through which they urinate increases.
The bladder muscle responds by becoming thicker and contracting stronger. When bladder changes occur, men start experiencing urinary symptoms usually beginning with urinary frequency and nocturia.
If benign prostatic hyperplasia progresses, bladder changes can advance urinary symptoms, leading to urgency and an over-active bladder.
To prioritize their urinary wellness, men of all ages shouldn't be afraid to seek medical guidance--know that there's never any shame in asking for support.
An individual's primary care physician or a urologist can provide a personalized International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), share insight into the size and function of their bladder and steps for achieving optimal bladder health preservation.
Another contributor in caring for urinary health involves practicing nutritional, exercise and urinary habits. Several research studies have found that men who consume tomatoes and pomegranate juice and participate in daily physical activity can improve their prostate and urinary health.
Above all? To preserve their bladder, it is beneficial for men to monitor their urologic health throughout their lifetime. Delay in managing an enlarged prostate may cause their bladder to not contract and empty properly. By prioritizing their urologic health, men can preserve their bladder health, urinate well and remain catheter free.
• Dr. Craig Smith is a board-certified urologist with DuPage Medical Group. In practice for more than 30 years, Dr. Smith provides personalized care to enhance his patients' well-being and quality of life. DMG offers comprehensive care for a wide-range of urological conditions, such as the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the bladder, kidney, and prostate, overactive bladder, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and male-specific health concerns. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a urologist online, visit www.dupagemedicalgroup.com.