There is a risk.’ The doctor said to me… but I didn’t understand any of those words neither could I relate all other jargons that followed.
The obvious was, an old man was incuriously staring at the doctor and I. He was apathetic and kept popping sighs of relief. The Old man had just been liberated from the most distressing condition that could befall any man; a horrible urge to wee without being able to wee. Still drenched in warm sweat, a rubber tubing channelled his urine into a clear polyethylene bag like a drain from his manhood, as he kept saying, ‘thank you doctor, thank you doctor.’ I mean what do I expect from a 65year old man that was gawping at an unsuspecting silhouette of death few minutes ago? The doctor said my father had Acute Urine Retention. Oh yes! The Old man is my father and whatever that doctor’s slang meant, only him and his fellow medics understood.

I was attending to a business client when Ifeoma, the youngest of us all, called and told me Nna was going to die if I didn’t show up. I had never seen my Old man so shrewdly tormented; he violently quaked and wailed in discomfort. The closest I had experienced were times I got so pressed and ran around for a convenience like a mad man, but that was just it, I never got a pinch of what and how the heck retention feels.

After it seemed like all his urine had been emptied, the doctor then poked Nna in the anus with his massive finger, how cruel and disgusting I thought that was. He removed his gloved finger and said he had to run a blood test and a scan, with the possibility of a biopsy.

Biopsy, a familiar name, but I thought it had to do with cancer. Nonetheless, I decided not to raise a single question on that, all I did was to nod in agreement. Blood test result was out and our doctor said Nna’s PSA level was in keeping with BPH. PSA? BPH? Those acronyms I tried to master well but the full meanings seemed my mystery. So I asked the doctor what could have caused that. I told him dad never had issue with blood pressure or blood sugar,
‘At least those are the two major concerns of you medics.’ I said to him with an unfair grimace.

He smiled and said again,
‘There is a risk.’

‘What risk?’ I plunged in.

‘Can your dad avoid being a man that he is?’
What a response! I thought within me.

‘Where are you going, doc? There are three men in this amenity award, so I can not understand why it’s only my dad that’s got to suffer for being a man.’ I pulled back.

‘I’m sorry about that, sir.’

Noticing my displeasure with his antics, he became more polite rather than being indirect as he explained himself in detail,

‘As men with testosterone, which is the major male hormone in our body, we may not be able to escape the risk of BPH, more so as we grow old. Your gender; your hormone; your age, are all your risk for developing BPH, now or later in life…’ he gulped in some saliva, then continued,

‘If my statistics are correct, BPH affects about 200 million plus males around the world. Implication of this is, as middle-aged adult men without apparent symptoms, our risk of developing BPH over the next 30 years is 45%. By the time we get to our late 70s it increases to….’

I left Nna’s ward that day without allowing the doctor to finish his speech. He was too blunt a doctor, if not the most downright I ever met. I wasn’t pleased with his medical information but I never doubted him. It was the first time anyone ever told me, whether in dream or reality, that a man was at risk of certain ‘scary’ BPH without keeping habits like smoking; drinking; doing drugs; taking junks; because these are the habits the doctors usually advice us against.

Now, I wonder what I can do to avoid turning out like my father later in life, as far as I got the doctor’s speech, he didn’t sound like it can be prevented, and this is what scares me out. Before returning to the doctor’s office later that day to ask if there was a possible lasting solution to Nna’s condition, I went on the internet to surf for BPH, and here is the summary of what I got.

What Exactly Is BPH?

BPH refers to Benign prostatic hyperplasia. Also called benign enlargement of the prostate. It’s noncancerous increase in size of the prostate.

The Prostrate

The prostate is a wall-nut shaped gland located beneath the male bladder and surrounds the part of the male urethra called prostatic urethra. Its function is to produce alkaline fluid that keeps the semen alkaline, this helps to neutralise the acidity in woman’s vaginal tract. So the function of the prostrate is more apparent in sexual processes. The gland’s tremendous growth is believed to begin at approximately age 30, when sufficiently large, the nodules impinge on the urethra, hence increasing the resistance to flow of urine from bladder!

Did You Know That?
1. Testosterone and related hormones play a permissive role in the development of BPH. This means that testosterone has to be present for BPH to occur. By implication, castrated boys have been shown not to develop BPH when they age.
2. BPH doesn’t lead to cancer or increase the risk for cancer.
3. An estimated 50% of men have histologic (microscopic) evidence of BPH by 50years, and 75% by 80years.
4. At late adulthood, BPH becomes clinically significant in 40-50%.
5. Sexual activities do not increase or decrease the risk of BPH.
6. BMI (Body Mass Index) which relates to the weight and height of an individual affects prostate growth. Implication is, obesity may be a risk for BPH.
7. The risk associated with Hypertension, smoking, alcoholism are not clear.

Knowing The Symptoms Of BPH

Symptoms of BPH may include:

I. Need to urinate frequently

II. Waking at night to urinate more than usual

III. Urgency (compelling need to void that cannot be deferred)

IV. Involuntary urination, including involuntary urination at night, or urge incontinence (urine leak following a strong sudden need to urinate).

V. Urinary hesitancy (a delay between trying to urinate and the flow actually beginning)

VI. Intermittency, Involuntary interruption of voiding

VII. Weak urinary stream, straining to void

VIII. A sensation of incomplete emptying, Incomplete voiding results in residual urine or urinary stasis, which can lead to an increased risk of urinary tract infection

IX. Terminal dribbling (uncontrollable leaking after the end of urination, also called post-micturition dribbling).

X. There may be bladder pain or pain while urinating.


How To Manage These Symptoms

In mild condition, symptoms may be decreased by lifestyle alteration which include :

 physical activity

 decreasing fluid intake before bedtime

 moderating the consumption of alcohol and caffeine-containing products

 following a timed voiding schedule.

 Patients can also attempt to avoid products and medications that may exacerbate symptoms of BPH, including antihistamines, decongestants, opiates, and tricyclic antidepressants; however, changes in medications should be done with input from a medical professional.
Drugs may also be used to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into its active form, thus limiting the growth of prostate.

Surgery may also be done to either resect or remove the prostate gland.

Thank you for reading.

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