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Our Take: Beacon physician discusses symptoms of and treatment options for enlarged prostate

Prostate enlargement has been a widely discussed health topic since the recent announcement that King Charles III received the diagnosis and was treated for the condition. We reached out to Dr. Gregory Buck, a family physician at Beacon Medical Group Bremen, to explain signs and symptoms. While King Charles had surgery for his enlarged prostate, there are many treatment options — especially if it is diagnosed early.

Dr. Gregory Buck

What does it mean to have an enlarged prostate? This usually means a patient has a benign prostate condition. It is not cancer. Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the chance of being diagnosed with an enlarged prostate increases with age for men. You can think about this condition almost like a doughnut, with the prostate surrounding the urethra, the tube through which urine flows. An enlarged prostate gets larger on the outside and smaller on the inside, narrowing the passage for urine to travel from the bladder, contributing to symptoms.

What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate? Symptoms of an enlarged prostate usually include: an increased need to urinate, especially at night; difficulty starting to urinate; having to urinate suddenly; and having a weak urinary stream. While some patients report symptoms, other patients may not have any symptoms at all.

What age group is highest risk? Older men, including African-American men, and those with a family history have an increased risk of prostate enlargement. But it is not uncommon for men to develop this condition as they age.

What treatments are available? Lifestyle modifications are the first-line treatment. This includes avoiding fluids prior to bedtime, reducing the consumption of caffeine, alcohol and other mild diuretics, and trying to empty the bladder more completely when urinating. From there, the patient’s treatment program would move to medical management before proceeding to a urologist consult and possible surgical intervention.

How important are annual checkups with your primary care doctor? It is usually recommended that individuals should be seen by their family physician at least annually. It is important to be screened for BPH and eventually for prostate cancer since early detection does significantly improve outcomes, especially in younger males, and may be easier to treat.

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About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Senior Media Relations Strategist. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.