Getting older can offer many unexpected benefits for men – an enlarged prostate is most definitely not one of them.
Located underneath the bladder, this unassuming little gland may only be the size of a walnut, yet it plays a big role in a man’s sexual and urinary health, producing seminal fluid and, as he gets older, impacting urinary functionality.
Self-help tips for older men
Men of a certain age, if you are experiencing urinary issues, the message to take away is: If in doubt, get it checked out. If the cause is an enlarged prostate, here are some invaluable self-help tips.
Keep drinking (water)
Don’t be tempted to drink fewer fluids in order to avoid having to go to the bathroom too often. It’s important to drink plenty, spread out throughout the day, to reduce the risk of infection.
On the other hand, if you have problems emptying your bladder, it’s not a good idea to suddenly drink a lot all at once, as this could lead to the severe pain of urinary ‘retention’, where the bladder becomes distended and won’t empty at all.
Take your time
If the bladder empties slowly, it’s important not to feel rushed or stressed. Sometimes it also helps to turn a tap on in the bathroom, as this prompts a natural instinct to empty the bladder (it works!).
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Passing urine while sitting instead of standing (or vice versa) can help empty the bladder. It’s also worth ‘double voiding’, ie go to the loo again a short while after the first attempt, to see if more urine will come out. A heat pad or hot water bottle on the lower abdomen may also help.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
If you have to get up several times at night to use the bathroom, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening. If it happens anyway then make sure there are no trip hazards on the way to the bathroom!
Exercise and watch your weight
Try to get enough exercise and maintain a healthy weight, as obesity can aggravate prostate enlargement.