Enlarged prostate is becoming more and more common in men from the age of 60 with chances increasing as they get older said a leading urologist. Pic: pexels.com

While there is no localised research specifically looking into enlarged prostates among South African men, a local expert said international stats suggest it is becoming more common.

“We don't have local stats unfortunately. International stats from the US and Europe is that there is a 50% chance of men developing an enlarged prostate at the age of 60, and when you reach 80, there’s a 90% chance. So as you get older, it becomes more common,” said urologist, Dr Amit Kalpee.

He said the causes of enlarged prostate are still largely unknown. “There’s a large genetic component, where you find that if your father or brothers have had problems with their prostate, then it’s more likely for you to have similar problems. There are different theories involved, like the awakening theory that happens when you’re older and the hormonal theories that say that your hormone levels increase, testosterone levels, which cause the prostate to grow. But the crux of the matter is that no-one really can tell what’s the reason for it to grow.”

“Imagine that the prostate is like a donut sitting around the base of the bladder. The ring of the donut is the passage through which you pass urine from. So if the prostate swells that ring begins to close and stops block in urination. As the prostate gets larger it puts more pressure, causes poor flow, and retaining urine. In the most advanced cases the patient will not be able to pass urine at all. And that can cause problems with the kidneys and cause kidney failure,” said Kalpee.

Here’s a glance at some of the symptoms you can look out for:

  • Typically the most common finding is that your urination has slowed down. So instead of you having a faster stream, you  find that the stream is quite weak.
  • You also find yourself needing to pass urine many times, for example, if you’d go once or twice in a day, you'd find your are going more frequently.
  • Passing urine as night many times. So instead of sleeping through the night, you find you’re waking up five or six times at night because you’re never able to fully empty the bladder