Like you, many men find that BPH affects their enjoyment of life. For example, you might feel tired all the time because you can't get a decent night's sleep. You might feel anxious and embarrassed at social gatherings because you keep having to disappear to the loo. Maybe you always have to think about what you're drinking and when - one more drink before the journey home might mean you can't make it back without stopping for a pee.
Outings and car journeys can be frustrating, especially if you have to map out every public toilet to reassure yourself you won't be caught short. BPH can affect your relationship with your partner too. Do they get annoyed with your toilet habits? Maybe you're disturbing their sleep, which might even lead to you sleeping in separate bedrooms.
If this sounds like you, you're certainly not alone. In a website survey with BPH sufferers, nine out of ten men say their condition has forced them to make significant adjustments to their lifestyle. In addition, 59% avoid drinking before bedtime, 41% plan their day around the availability of a toilet and 31% avoid travelling long distances.
Sex & BPH
It's not inevitable, but some men with BPH also have problems with sex (called sexual dysfunction or erectile dysfunction). Because the prostate plays a role in sexual function, prostate problems and LUTS may cause you to experience difficulties. The worse your urinary symptoms are, the poorer the erection quality can be.
Doctors don't know why these problems occur. It may just be that the likelihood of having both sexual dysfunction and BPH increases with age. Or it could simply be because you're tired from having to get up several times at night to pee. All sorts of reasons can cause erectile problems, some of which (e.g. heart disease and diabetes) increase with age. Other possible causes include:
- Alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs
- Some medicines, including anti-depressants and drugs for high blood pressure (such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers)
- Conditions affecting nerves or blood supply, including multiple sclerosis or a stroke
- Conditions affecting the erectile tissue in the penis, such as major surgery in the abdomen, particularly prostate operations
- Long-term conditions, such as diabetes
It's really important that you seek advice from a healthcare professional if you experience any serious or on-going symptoms, such as problems with your peeing habits, to ensure that you can get treatment, as well as identifying any underlying cause.