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Top Tips for Better Urinary Health

man with Doctor


Our bodies are destined to change as we age. From birth to puberty to middle age and through our golden years one of the few constants we experience is change. One of the most common changes men experience as they enter middle age is an enlarged prostate, which leads to an increased focus on bladder health. Steven Kardos, MD, a urologist with, Northeast Medical Group, Fairfield, explains the changes men can expect and what they can do if symptoms become severe.

“Many men, over the age of 50, start to experience some symptoms of an enlarged prostate,” Dr. Kardos said. “Those symptoms include frequent urination, slow flow and difficulty fully emptying the bladder. Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options that are proven to be very helpful.”

Benign prostate enlargement, or an enlarged prostate, is common in men over 50. The cause of the condition is unknown, but doctors agree it is likely related to hormone changes men experience as they get older. As the prostate gets larger it puts pressure on the urethra and bladder, which causes urinary symptoms. It impacts men of all ethnic and social backgrounds. King Charles III of the United Kingdom recently received treatment for the condition.

Lifestyle changes and diet modifications are the first things Dr. Kardos suggests when a patient first reports urinary symptoms.

“We don’t need to jump right in with medications or surgery,” he explained. “The easiest thing you can do is eat healthier. That means more fresh fruits and vegetables. Lean meats like chicken and fish are great. You should avoid processed foods, lots of red meat and fatty foods.”

Dr. Kardos said caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods irritate the bladder and should be avoided at night. “That can really help if you’re waking up several times in the middle of the night to urinate,” he said.

For patients who require additional help managing their symptoms, Dr. Kardos said medication can be very effective.

“The first thing we do when we bring in medications is to decide if the urinary symptoms are coming from the prostate or the bladder, because there are different medicines for each,” he said. “Some relax the prostate while others relax the bladder. In both cases there are minimal side effects.”

There are also several medical procedures that have shown to help men with an enlarged prostate.

“It’s a very exciting time in urology because there are a lot of new technologies to help reduce the size of the prostate, which takes the pressure off the urethra, opening up the channel for urine to flow more freely,” he said. “The gold-standard procedure right now is called a trans-urethral resection of the prostate. It’s a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure like coring out the center of an apple. It’s very effective for removing the pressure on the urethra and restoring flow.”

Dr. Kardos recognizes that it can be embarrassing for men to discuss these issues with anyone, even their doctor. However, he stresses that the sooner men seek help, the sooner they can start on the path to improvement.

“I tell my patients all the time, ‘You only have one life and it’s your job to let us know when something is wrong so we can help,’” he said. “Today, so much can be done in preventative health, taking care of things before they become a big problem. Why wait?”

Learn more about Urology