Here’s one of the crucial questions facing a blogger: “Does anyone besides me care about how often I pee?” Well, how will I know unless I blog about it? And, if you don’t care, stop reading.
I suspect, though, that quite a few men of a certain age will find my subject fascinating.
For 50% of men over the age of 50 are said to have an enlarged prostate (90% over 80). In my “Female doctors do it better” post I noted that a prostate exam is the only time you don’t want to hear from a female who is inspecting your genital area that you’re larger than average.
That happened to me about fifteen months ago. At that time I started taking Flomax, a prescription drug that relieves the symptoms of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), which include going often, going urgently, having a weak stream, and frequently waking up at night to go.
All of which described how my 57 year old urinary system was operating. For some inexplicable reason that casts serious doubt on the existence of an intelligent designer, in men the uretha comes out of the bladder and passes through the prostate (which adds fluids to the semen to nourish and protect sperm cells).
When the prostate enlarges due to the effects of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the urethra gets squeezed. And the above-mentioned symptoms appear.
I’d been getting up at least two times a night to go to the bathroom. Recalling my youthful days, that wasn’t at all the case. Sleeping all the way to morning was the rule, not the exception. Then there was the flow thing.
At the athletic club where I work out, I generally use a side by side set of urinals (discreetly separated by a divider). One day I sidled up to pee at the same time as a twenty-something dude. I was struck by the difference in sound between us. One of us was imitating a small waterfall, the other a trickle tube.
You can guess which I was. But now I’m on my way to becoming a gusher again. And a much less frequent visitor to the bathroom, thanks to Avodart.
(Note: I have no financial interest in GlaxoSmithKline, which makes this drug. However, I'd like one. I’m entirely open to accepting cash and/or a free supply of Avodart from GSK if the company wants to express its appreciation for this marvelously positive free blog advertising. Or a Mini-Cooper S convertible, which would entitle GSK to a whole series of Avodart posts and really make me feel younger.)
When I went for my annual physical about three and a half months ago, my doctor told me that my prostate was still “generous.” I didn’t press for details. She said that while Flomax treats symptoms, it doesn’t shrink the prostate. Avodart does, by lowering the level of DHT. I was told that Flomax and Avodart can be taken at the same time, and that Avodart can take six months or so to have an effect.
Well, it seems to be working for me after just a bit over three months. I’m usually getting up to go just once a night now. And the frequency of bathroom trips is considerably less during the day.
Yesterday I peed at the athletic club around 4:30 pm, then went to my Tai Chi class. At 6:15 I drank a large Starbucks latte before beginning my weekly grocery shopping. Got home and took the dog for a walk. Peed again at about 8:00 pm. That’s three and a half hours between bathroom visits, even with a large latte coursing through my bladder.
Much improved from before. So I’m happy with Avodart.
It’s fairly spendy, but insurance is paying half the cost of my prescription. I haven’t noticed any side effects. That’s good, but I would like to experience the side effect of having hair regrow on my bald spot. Avodart is expected to work like Propecia, since it reduces the conversion of testosterone to DHT, one of the causes of hair loss.
I’ll be keeping an eye on the back of my head. Along with paying less attention to toilets.