Prostate problems: What can I do myself?
Many men know what it's like to feel the urge to urinate often and have to make regular trips to the toilet at night. These problems are usually caused by a benign enlarged prostate. If the problems caused by the prostate are only minor, it is often possible to manage them by simply changing a few everyday habits.
The gradual growth of the prostate gland is a normal part of aging in men. At some point it may cause urination problems, though. Men who have only mild symptoms can often cope quite well without treatment. There are a few strategies that can help in everyday life:
- Drinking less if you can't or don't want to use the toilet for a longer time period – for example, before going to bed. The German Society of Urology recommends not drinking more than 1.5 liters spread evenly throughout the day. It's still important to get enough to drink generally, though – especially if you're thirsty.
- Drinking diuretic drinks in moderation. These increase the amount of urine that comes out of your bladder, and include alcohol and drinks with caffeine in them (like green and black tea) in particular.
- Using what is called a double-voiding technique when you urinate: Try to urinate again a few moments after you finish. This increases the chances of emptying your bladder properly. It can also help to squeeze any remaining urine out of the urethra with your hands.
- Training your bladder's ability to hold urine by regularly delaying trips to the bathroom a little, and not going to the toilet immediately when you start feeling the urge.
It is also a good idea to review the medications you are taking with a doctor or pharmacist. Some medications can increase the production of urine or affect the bladder muscles, making the symptoms worse. These medications include:
- Diuretics: medications that make the body release more urine, also used to treat things like high blood pressure.
- Antispasmodic medications.
- Certain allergy medications.
- Certain medications for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and depression.
Your doctor can advise you on possible alternatives that don't make the prostate problems worse.