With age the prostate gland may enlarge causing it to press on the bladder and urethra. This leads to a number of symptoms including:
So, what can you do to help ease the problem? Discover my top ten tips below!
1 – Drink lots of water
You may assume that drinking lots of water is likely to make you need the toilet more however, in actual fact it can help. Concentrated urine irritates the sensitive lining of the bladder and so if you fail to drink enough water it can feel as if you constantly need the loo. If you dilute urine though, the bladder will happily hold more for longer so you’ll feel more comfortable in the long run.
I’d recommend you drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day but make sure you don’t gulp down large amounts all at once as you don’t want to put too much pressure on the prostate. Instead drink small amounts at regular intervals throughout the day – try keeping a bottle to hand and see if you feel a difference!
2 – Avoid stress
The symptoms of BPH often exist in a vicious cycle with stress. That’s because men often worry about their symptoms but on top of this, stress can actually make the condition worse. Feeling tense, stressed and anxious can cause you to need the toilet more but also worrying about not being able to urinate can make the problem worse too.
Breathing exercises are a great way to relieve stress as this relaxes the body and takes the mind away from any troublesome thoughts. However, when it comes to dealing with stress another option is to try a herbal remedy. Our Stress Relief Daytime drops are a good option here as they contain extracts of Valerian and Hops to ease mild stress and anxiety.
3 – Stay clear of the cold
Cold temperatures can make you feel like you need the toilet so during the winter months (and summer if you live somewhere like the west of Scotland where it’s cold all year round), make sure you wrap up warm when going outside. Also, when you are outside try not to sit on any cold benches as the chill may worsen any existing BPH symptoms - a hat, scarf, warm jacket and gloves should help to counteract this further.
4 – Drink less in the evenings
It’s best to avoid drinking at least two hours before sleeping as otherwise you’ll spend the night going up and down to the toilet! It is particularly important you stay clear of alcohol and caffeine as these are stimulants and diuretics meaning not only will you need to urinate more often, you’ll also have more powerful urges to go to the toilet as well. So, if you feel really thirsty after 8 make sure you stick to a small glass of water!
5 – Get moving!
Sitting for too long in the same position can actually worsen BPH symptoms so it’s important to keep moving. If you have a sedentary job like driving or office work then try to find ways to get up and move about more. If you take a break for example, get up, stretch your legs and get your circulation flowing rather than staying in your seat. Another option is to take a walk at lunch time – not only will this get you moving, it will also give you some much needed fresh air!
6 – Review your medication with your doctor
If you are taking prescription and over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants, it is worthwhile speaking to your doctor about them as many have been found to worsen BPH symptoms.
7 – Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can cause and worsen BPH symptoms so if necessary take some steps to reduce your weight. You can do this by incorporating moderate exercise and good dietary choices into your daily routine. This might seem easier said than done but it can make a big difference.
If you’d like more advice on good nutrition I’d recommend you have a look at our food hub. Also, our get active hub is a good place to find information and advice on incorporating more exercise into your routine. Some of my favourite blogs here include:
8 – Relax!
As I’ve discussed, the symptoms of an enlarged prostate can worsen due to stress so when you do go to the toilet try to relax as much as possible. Many men find that reading helps to relax the mind and body however, it’s also important that you don’t rush your toilet visits. This may seem annoying for both you and your family but in order to stay calm it’s really important.
To help you relax a good tip is to urinate whilst sitting down rather than standing up. If you prefer to stand when going to the toilet though, you could just sit down when trying the ‘double voiding’ technique. Here you wait a few minutes after urinating and then go to the toilet once again. Also, to help reduce the amount of times you go to the toilet, when you do go, take the time to empty your bladder completely – if this takes a little longer than your usual toilet trips then so be it!
On another note, if you are travelling long distances make sure you know where the nearest restrooms are along the route so you are not caught out. This should help to keep you relaxed along the way but don’t forget it also applies when you go out, be it shopping, socialising or work.
9 – Run the bathroom tap…
If you are struggling to urinate, you are straining or you have a weak stream, a simple yet effective trick is to run some water when you go to the toilet. You could also try placing a hot water bottle on your lower abdomen as this relaxes the muscles there making it easier to urinate.
10 – Try a natural remedy
Saw Palmetto berries have been used for many years to help address symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Many men opt for a herbal treatment as these aren't associated with the negative side effects that often come with conventional medication.
You can find extracts of Saw Palmetto berries in our remedy Prostatsan. These capsules help to relieve the urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate such as poor flow, needing to go to the toilet at night and dribbling.
Originally published 23 March 2015 (updated on 14 November 2018)