Do you keep getting UTIs? If you’re a middle-aged man, there’s a good chance that benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the culprit. BPH is a condition that affects many men as they age. While it doesn’t cause cancer, it can lead to some serious complications, including urinary tract infections (UTIs). In this blog post, we will discuss the relationship between BPH and UTIs, as well as explain why BPH increases the risk of UTI and how treating BPH can help decrease that risk.
What is BPH?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, also known as BPH, is an enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland that is located just below the bladder in men. It surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. As the prostate enlarges, it can compress the urethra and cause urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency, hesitancy, dribbling, and weak stream. BPH is not cancerous and does not lead to cancer.
What are UTIs?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system: the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. UTIs are caused by bacteria that enter the urinary system through the urethra and travel to the bladder. The most common symptom of a UTI is a burning feeling when you urinate. Other symptoms may include cloudy or bloody urine, strong smelling urine, and urinary frequency or urgency.
How are BPH and UTIs related?
BPH increases the risk of UTI for two reasons. First, an enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine from the bladder. This can lead to stasis, which is when urine sits in the bladder for a longer period of time. This provides a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Second, BPH can cause changes in the structure of the bladder wall. These changes make it more difficult for the bladder to empty completely, which also increases the risk of stasis and UTI.
In most cases, UTIs can effectively be treated with antibiotics. When left untreated, however, UTIs can evolve into kidney infections. Unfortunately, kidney infections can cause permanent organ damage that can reduce kidney function. In extreme cases, the infection can also spread to the blood and cause septicemia.
How can treating BPH help?
Treating BPH can help decrease the risk of UTI by improving urinary flow and preventing stasis. Medications such as alpha-blockers and finasteride can be used to treat BPH. These medications can improve urinary symptoms and help the bladder empty more completely. If medication doesn’t work, surgery may be an option. Surgery can also help improve urinary flow and prevent stasis. Generally speaking, any BPH treatment that decreases the size of the prostate can improve urine flow and decrease the risk of recurrent UTIs.
In this blog post, we discussed the relationship between BPH and UTIs. We explained how BPH increases the risk of UTI and how treating BPH can help decrease that risk. If you are a middle-aged man with recurrent UTIs, it is important to talk to your doctor about the possibility of BPH. Treating BPH can help improve your urinary symptoms and decrease your risk of UTI.