The BPH blood test is designed to determine if Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy is affecting male urinary health. It is able to do this because a prostate-specific antigen can be found in the blood when BPH is present. Sometimes referred to as a PSA test, it is done to determine if prostate cancer is present or there is another issue which is causing the prostate to enlarge.
The BPH blood test is often ordered with a series of additional tests to determine the status of the prostate. This includes a digital rectal example, a urine culture, bladder pressure and compliance, and blood creatinine tests. Because severe cases of BPH can cause urine to back up into the kidneys and cause damage, the blood test is a good start toward a diagnosis of the signs and symptoms that are being experienced.
When To Ask About the BPH Blood Test
The most common symptom of BPH is difficulty urinating. In rare but severe cases, BPH can even cause men to stop urinating completely – a situation which would require immediate medical attention. Most men notice a slowing of the urine stream, hesitancy when beginning to urinate, and dribbling of urine at the end of the stream.
The signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection may also be present because of the increased storage of urine. Some men may also experience the development of kidney stones. Some men may also see changes to their sexual functioning, including painful orgasms, impotence, or an overall reduction of their sexual ability.
These symptoms can vary in severity and change over time. Most men only speak with their doctor when their symptoms become more than a minor annoyance. About half of all men will experience some level of BPH by the age of 60 and up to 90% of men will experience BPH by the age of 85.
BPH does not cause prostate cancer, but BPH and prostate cancer can be co-existing. Men who see blood in their urine at any point should speak with their doctor immediately.
How To Treat BPH
Most men won’t require any treatment for BPH. If there are bothersome symptoms from co-existing issues, such as a urinary tract infection or kidney stones, then these issues will be directly treated. Men who are diagnosed with BPH with a positive blood test will also be placed under closer medical supervision to help prevent infections within the urinary tract or the formation of kidney stones.
If there is trouble urinating or a complete lack of urination, then a catheter may be inserted to prevent kidney damage or a rupture of the bladder.
Certain medications can also help men who are struggling with the urge or frequency of urination that is associated with BPH. These medications, which are alpha blockers, are designed to help relax the muscles that are responsible for urination, which makes it easier to go. Men treated with alpha blockers typically see an improvement in flow and experience less overall frequency within 48 hours of starting drugs like alfuzosin, silodosin, or tamsulosin.
Certain 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors may also be recommended depending on the severity of the BPH that is discovered through the BPH blood test and other results.
As a result, certain non-invasive treatments or surgical options may be required to help resolve the symptoms of BPH that are being experienced. Not every non-invasive treatment can cure BPH, however, so make sure to have a conversation with your doctor about all of your available options and what outcomes may result.
Here’s What You Need To Know
If you’ve received a positive BPH blood test, it is important to realize that this is not your fault. There are certain lifestyle choices, however, that can make BPH worse. Cut down or eliminate your caffeine and alcohol intake. If you cannot eliminate them altogether, then space out how much you would drink so it does not occur at once. Avoid taking medications that contain pseudoephedrine or antihistamines because these can exaggerate current symptoms.
It is also important to stay active. Exercises which strengthen your pelvic floor may reduce symptoms. Most importantly, if you feel the urge to urinate, then go to the bathroom. By holding onto your urine, you may cause more painful symptoms to develop later on.
Your doctor will choose a treatment plan that addresses your needs in the most effective way possible. If you’ve had a positive BPH blood test, then use this guide to speak with your doctor about what options are available to you. BPH is not cancer, so don’t let stress enhance your symptoms. Most men with the right treatment option can experience the relief they need so life can continue on in an uninterrupted way.