What causes constant trips to the toilet?
As the prostate gland swells, it can put pressure on the bladder, reducing the volume of urine the bladder is able to hold, meaning that you need to urinate more frequently. Additionally, sometimes just moving in a certain way can suddenly increase this pressure, causing a sudden urge to urinate. When you do go, you often find that little actually comes out – because there isn’t actually very much in the bladder to start with.
Why do some men try to cut back on water intake?
After what seems like the millionth bathroom trip that day, the idea suddenly dawns on you – if you stop drinking as much water, there won’t be enough in your bladder to trigger the urge to pee! Right?
Unfortunately, while this seems logical, the opposite is actually true. What you'll probably find is that as you drink less and less the sudden urges to run to the bathroom increase. So why is this, and why might drinking more water be the solution?
Why drinking less water won’t help
As you cut back on water, the urine building up in your bladder becomes concentrated and can begin to irritate the bladder. As a result, the urge to urinate is triggered, even if there isn’t very much in your bladder. However, since there is very little in there, you may notice that when you do rush to the bathroom, very little comes out, and what does is a weak stream.
In addition, this concentrated urine is the perfect place for bacteria to breed, and if you go to the bathroom and experience a weak flow, you might actually end up with some urine still left in the bladder. This can easily lead to a bladder infection, which is not good news!
Why drinking more water can help to reduce your symptoms
Increasing your water intake will lead to less concentrated urine which is much less irritating to the bladder, meaning that it can actually store more urine at once! The increased volume in the bladder means that when you do go, there is more force pushing the urine out, resulting in a stronger stream of urine and a greater chance of fully emptying the bladder.
But drinking more water can have other positive effects. Staying fully hydrated can help to prevent constipation, because it means your body doesn’t need to reabsorb so much from the large intestine. As you can imagine, the prostate sits fairly close to the colon, so a full colon will put extra pressure on the prostate and therefore on the bladder. As a result, constipation is thought to worsen your enlarged prostate symptoms.
So as long as you don’t suddenly start drinking litres and litres, a gentle increase in water intake can really help. Aim for around 2 litres a day, increasing slowly over a couple of weeks.
What else can you do for your enlarged prostate?
If you increase your water intake and find that after a few weeks you’re still rushing to the bathroom too frequently, then cutting down on water again definitely isn’t the answer! Your body needs that water for a huge number of functions, from metabolising energy from food, to transporting nutrients to the brain and muscles. Your kidneys will become very stressed without enough water, which can cause pain, damage and even infection.
Instead, look at other ways of reducing your prostate symptoms while keeping your water intake at a sufficient level.
Increasing your intake of zinc can really help, so eat plenty of pumpkin seeds!
We recommend that you avoid inflammatory foods such as red meat, dairy, alcohol, sugar and refined carbohydrates as these can worsen symptoms.
Instead, eat lots of ‘whole’ foods, like whole wheat pasta, wholegrain bread, brown rice, oats and quinoa, as well as plenty of nuts, seeds and fresh fruit and veg.
Exercise is thought to be beneficial too, with men who exercise more regularly being less likely to develop the condition.
If your water intake isn’t helping your symptoms, then a herbal remedy like our own Prostasan saw palmetto capsules might be a good idea. These capsules are licensed for the relief of enlarged prostate symptoms, and aren’t associated with the negative side-effects that often accompany more conventional treatment methods.