Medical Alerts for Seniors with Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

Introduction

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a term for a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Doctors aren’t sure exactly why BPH occurs. Some doctors believe it may be related to usual hormonal changes that occur as one ages.

A recent study found a possible genetic link for BPH in men younger than age 65. Studies found that male relatives of people with BPH are four times more likely to require BPH surgery at some point in their lives; brothers have an even higher risk.

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BPH Overview

BPH obstructs the flow of urine through the urethra. One in four men will experience BPH by age 55. Furthermore, the symptoms are present in 50 percent of men who are 75 years or older. Many find that treatment is only necessary if symptoms become bothersome. Others find that BPH symptoms are severe enough to require treatment.

For years, surgery was the sole option for treatment. Fortunately, drugs that can help relieve symptoms were recently approved.The drugs were created to provide relief by shrinking the prostate, or by causing the prostate muscle tissue to relax, thus releasing the constriction of the urethra.

BPH Impairment

BPH causes the enlarged prostate to compress the urethra, impeding the natural flow of urine from the bladder.The discomfort associated with BPH is collectively considered as an impairment of the lower urinary tract. The impairments are generally classified as void or obstructive impairments.If BPH is severe enough, complete blockage may occur. 

People with BPH may experience a variety of impairments, including:

  • Having an insistent need to urinate
  • Irregular or weakened urinary stream
  • A feeling that the bladder has not voided completely
  • Difficulty delaying urination
  • A hesitation that prohibits the flow of urine, though the urinating urge still exists
  • A need to strain when urinating
  • Leakage or dribbling at the end of urination
Medical Alert Benefits

The flow of urine is restricted when the prostate enlarges. Nerves within the prostate and bladder may become inflamed, causing great pain and discomfort. If symptoms are not manageable, medical alert products are available to provide assistance to seniors who may need assistance but do not have access to a phone. Medical alerts give the user the ability to call for help by pressing a button. 

The following are common symptoms experienced by those with BPH:

  • Urgency to urinate
  • Nocturia, or the need to urinate frequently throughout the night
  • Difficulty maintaining a urinary stream
  • Interrupted and weakened stream of urination
  • The sensation of residual urine
  • Incontinence or leakage of urine
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • The feeling of needing to push or strain to empty the bladder
  • Dribbling, or the involuntary release of small amounts of urine due to a weakened urinary stream
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  • Urinary frequency: To manage the urge to frequently urinate, one can attempt to bladder train. Bladder training is vital if the goal is to increase the time between voiding the bladder. Bladder training can also be used to decrease leakage and minimize the urgency to urinate.This requires following a strict voiding schedule, whether or not the sensation to urinate is present. If there is an urge to urinate before the scheduled time, one should adopt suppression techniques to delay the void.
  • Incomplete bladder emptying: To successfully empty a full bladder, one can try walking around for ten seconds before emptying the bladder. An individual should never strain when attempting to pass urine, as this can have a negative impact on the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Dribbling: Dribbling is the loss of small amounts of urine after the bladder has been emptied. Dribbling can be both embarrassing and annoying when it occurs. Dribbling is the result of the urethra not being full emptied. To minimize the possibility of dribbling, one can place their fingertips behind their scrotum and apply pressure, encouraging the urine to flow down and out of the urethra. Individuals should repeat the process at least twice to ensure the urethra is emptied.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy Precautions:
  • Limit beverages: Beverage consumption should be limited in the evenings. Individuals suffering from BPH should not drink fluids for at least two hours before bedtime. This minimizes the trips you’ll need to take to the toilet throughout the night.
  • Schedule bathroom visits: Individuals should attempt to urinate at regular scheduled times during the day. This method retrains the bladder and can be especially useful if there is a severe urgency and frequency to urination.
  • Limit decongestants or antihistamines. Decongestants and antihistamines should be avoided if at all possible. These drugs can cause the band of muscles around the urethra, which control urine flow, to tighten, making it difficult to urinate.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy Medical Alerts Conclusion

Half of the male population over the age of 60 suffers from BPH. Medical alert services can provide a much-needed safeguard for seniors who live alone and suffer from the condition. Complications of BPH can become painful if not treated regularly. Additionally, if an individual slips and falls in urine, there may be dire consequences, to include broken bones and bruises.

More than half of seniors who fall cannot get up on their own. Lying on a floor for an extended period of time may lead to other medical complications. Medical alert services offer technology that can detect if an individual wearing the device falls but cannot press the alert button on their own. Therefore, it would be wise to have such a system in place.

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