King Charles helped bring awareness to BPH. What is it?

February 26, 2024

Royal watchers were on high alert when King Charles III underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The condition isn’t life-threatening, but its symptoms impact men’s quality of life. If left untreated, potential risks can include irreversible bladder damage, which can lead to dependency on adult diapers or the need for a permanent bladder catheter.

What is BPH?

BPH is a benign (non-cancerous) enlargement of the prostate gland. Eventually, the tissue growth leads to urethra blockage, difficulties urinating, and other aggravating symptoms like:

  • Frequent need to urinate both day and night
  • Weak or slow urinary stream
  • Sense that you cannot completely empty your bladder
  • Difficulty or delay in starting urination
  • Urgent feeling of needing to urinate
  • A urinary stream that starts and stops

BPH is not limited to royalty; it’s extremely common.  

BPH is the number one reason men visit a urologist. Prostate growth is part of aging, and all men’s prostates begin to grow around the age of 40 or 50. In fact, 1 out of 2 men over the age of 50 are affected by BPH.

Early intervention is key.

Treatments that help address the obstruction in the urethra can help preserve bladder health and improve men’s quality of life.

This starts with getting men to go to their doctor. Your doctor can help diagnose the severity of your urinary symptoms and disease progression.

Treatment options.

Your doctor will likely have you try conservative options first, like limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption, changing your bathroom habits, or making some dietary changes.

Next, there are medication options that can help relax the muscles in the prostate to help urine flow better or shrink the size of the prostate. Of course, not all men like the side effects that come with these drugs.

Finally, there are a wide variety of minimally invasive surgical treatments. Nearly all the treatments we have today are performed endoscopically, with no incisions and minimal blood loss.

One of the latest treatments available to patients is a procedure called Aquablation, in which a heat-free water jet controlled by robotic technology is used to remove overgrown prostate tissue.

We don’t know what treatment King Charles has elected, but we wish him a speedy recovery and thank him for speaking frankly about this common men’s health issue.

It’s so important for men to take control of their health. Men are living longer than ever. Make these years count.

Dr. Brian Friel and Dr. Matthew Sterling are urologists with MidLantic Urology who specialize in men’s health and minimally invasive approaches to managing BPH, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction, and more.

Schedule an appointment with a MidLantic Urology Physician near you today!

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