An enlarged prostate can make you urinate frequently, even if for only a tiny amount of urine. In addition, this need to urinate can appear very suddenly. Dr. Jen Tan explores this symptom in more depth and gives advice on how to manage it.
One of the most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate is a frequent need to urinate. Often this symptom occurs very suddenly, leaving you running for the toilet frequently throughout the day. This is often referred to as urinary urgency.
This symptom can manifest in a number of ways: urinating frequently and urgently, and having the feeling that you need to urinate when you don’t. This can be an annoying, even debilitating symptom, as it can interrupt daily life and make going out and socialising difficult. It can also interrupt sleep, leaving the sufferer tired and irritable.
Since the prostate is located just under the bladder, as it becomes enlarged it begins to push against the bottom of the bladder wall. This irritates the bladder and may also reduce the volume of fluid the bladder is able to hold. The result is a feeling of needing to urinate more often than you are used to, and often more urgently.
The prostate also surrounds the urethra, and when it enlarges it can ‘squeeze’ the urethra, disturbing the normal flow of urine out of the bladder. This gives a greater tendency for a small amount of urine to be left in the bladder and the feeling that you have not emptied your bladder properly.
This is known as urinary retention. It can become chronic and in some situations, the flow of urine out of the bladder stops completely, leading to a full and painful bladder and a medical emergency.
If you find yourself urinating more and more frequently, there are a number of self-help methods you can us to try to naturally relieve your symptoms.
Firstly, consider giving up caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and fizzy drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic – meaning that it causes an increase in the need to urinate
Check your diet, as chocolate, spicy foods and alcohol are known to irritate the bladder, which could exacerbate the problem. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as high-fibre foods because constipation can add increased pressure to the bladder.
Pumpkin seeds have traditionally been used to treat reduce an enlarged prostate and manage symptoms so you may find these helpful
Fresh cranberry juice is great for maintaining healthy urine and a healthy bladder, so consider incorporating this into your daily diet, especially if you feel you are struggling to completely empty your bladder
You may wish to try bladder training, which aims to increase the amount of time between urinating through self-control, exercises and relaxation. Speak to your GP about this, as they will be able to advise you
You may find that simple yoga and kegel exercises may help with urgent and frequent urination by strengthening the muscles around the urinary tract, giving you more control over your bladder. Try the exercises show in the video below.
Combining self-help with a natural herbal remedy will make it easier to manage this symptom.
We recommend an extract of Saw Palmetto, as this helps to treat the general urinary problems that result from an enlarged prostate, and so may help to alleviate the need to pee frequently. This extract is available in A.Vogel’s Prostosan capsules.
If you find that you are having difficulty emptying your bladder completely, you may want to consider taking a cranberry supplement to help keep your bladder healthy despite stagnant urine.
If you find that self-help methods and herbal remedies are not helping this symptom, you may wish to consider conventional medication.
Your GP may prescribe alpha-blockers, which relax the muscles of your bladder and make it easier to pass urine. The downside of this kind of medication is that it tends to have unpleasant side effects, including low blood pressure.
For some, surgery is the only option. There are a number of procedures that may be performed - these are described on our treatments page.
"Having been told by a consultant urologist some 30 years ago that I would at some stage require surgery, I am pleased to say that having used the saw palmetto capsules from that time he has (so far) been proved wrong!" James, UK