The Prostate Myth
In a recent survey as part of the A.Vogel Talk Prostate Health campaign which aims to persuade men to seek advice on prostate health, 1 in 5 men admitted that, if they were experiencing the symptoms of enlarged prostate, they’d just ignore the problem and hope it would get better by itself.
Enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a very common condition experienced by 50% of men over the age of 50. However despite this, an astonishing 70% of those surveyed have never heard of BPH.
Men’s Health Week runs from 9th to 15th June, so if you have urinary or bladder symptoms, there is no better time to understand the importance of seeking help and not putting off a diagnosis. So, what better way to help give men a better understanding of BPH than to debunk some of the myths that could be worrying them or stopping them from going to their doctor.
Addressing the Myth of Prostate Health with Dr Roger Henderson
Dr Roger Henderson, a senior partner in a busy general practice in Shropshire, shares his insights and advice on dealing with BPH. There are many reasons men might hold back from seeking help and a lot of these are related to some common myths which can be used as an excuse for prostate procrastination. These are a few I’ve encountered and the truth behind the fiction:
Myth: Enlarged prostate is a natural part of ageing and you can’t do anything about it
The Truth: While BPH is linked to age that doesn’t mean you should just put up with it. Small adjustments to your lifestyle, prescription medicines and licensed natural remedies, such as saw palmetto, have all been shown to reduce symptoms and restore quality of life
Myth: An enlarged prostate is likely to be a sign of cancer
The Truth: Enlarged prostate can be a sign of cancer and you should always visit a medical professional if you have any concerns. However, although prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, it is thankfully, not as common as BPH and your prostate enlargement is far more likely to be benign (non-cancerous) and treatable. My golden rule is: if in doubt get checked out!
Myth: Nobody else in my social group is affected by this
The Truth: Approximately half of men over 50 have BPH so statistically it’s very likely that your peers are going through something similar. In my practice I see a number of men each week with symptoms and that’s only the ones that come forward
Myth: BPH only affects men in their 70s or 80s
The Truth: BPH is more common in this age group and the older you get the more likely you are to have symptoms. However, symptoms can start from the age of 45 onwards and the condition is very common in men in the 50s or 60s
Myth: If I ignore the problem it will get better by itself
The Truth: Sadly this is unlikely to be the case. It’s best to seek out advice as, if left or ignored, an enlarged prostate can lead to complications. If the problem is not severe, you may be able to manage it with lifestyle changes and natural remedies, such as saw palmetto. Others may need prescription medication. You won’t know unless you seek help
Myth: It’s not serious so I shouldn’t bother anyone about it
The Truth: Anyone affected by BPH over time will understand the impact it can have. Planning trips around the nearest loo, suffering sleep deprivation, ducking out of meetings at work and experiencing problems in the bedroom (low libido, erectile dysfunction) can all take their toll both physically and mentally. BPH deserves to be taken seriously. There’s no need to be stoical!
If you think you have prostate problems, then do something about it – get it checked out, don’t ignore it!
You can find out more about BPH/enlarged prostate over at our Prostate Health Hub and check your symptoms with our Prostate Symptom Checker.