Bramley pensioner John Hill had suffered bladder trouble for years before hearing broadcaster Jeremy Vine discuss prostate problems on the radio.
The conversation spurred the 85-year-old widower to visit his doctor and led to a diagnosis of a benign enlarged prostate, which he takes daily tablets to manage.
John is now speaking out about the condition to urge any men worried about symptoms to visit their GP, as new research revealed one in five men admit to turning a blind eye to prostate problems.
Herbal remedies manufacturer A.Vogel carried out a survey which found 20 per cent of men admit they would “just ignore the problem and hope it got better by itself”.
John, a retired machine operator, was in his early 70s when he first began to experience weak flow and the feeling that soon after he’d passed water he needed to try again. It was just a dribble and the sensation I hadn’t emptied properly,” said John, who before stopping work spent 35 years helping make turbine blades for Harrier jump jets.
“It started to get much worse in the last four years and I sometimes had to get up four or five times a night.
“But I just put up with it until the radio programme pointed out the needed to get it checked.
“My doctor did a PSA blood test and concluded that I had an enlarged prostate, but it was benign and he put me on capsules to reduce it.
“I take one before bed and, since the beginning of the year, have also started having a Prostasan capsule just before tea after my granddaughter suggested I try it.
“My flow is now much better. In fact when I went on a coach trip to the seaside recently I only had to go twice all day.”
John, whose wife Jean died four years ago, thinks rather than seek advice men are too inclined to suffer in silence - as he was himself before being prompted to take action.
“I’d tell any man who has worries to go and see his doctor. There’s no stigma attached. It’s a perfectly natural thing that comes with age and if the cause is benign, which it almost always is, it can easily be treated.”
A. Vogel’s research was released as part of the Talk Prostate Health campaign - an initiative which aims to persuade men to seek advice on prostate issues.
Enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a very common condition experienced by 50 per cent of men over the age of 50. Despite this, nearly 70 per cent of those surveyed had never heard of BPH.
The survey’s results may explain why some delay seeking help or put off getting a diagnosis.
Dr Roger Henderson, an independent GP working on the campaign, said: “It can be tough to get men talking about their health in general, let alone when it relates to something so sensitive. In my experience there are three main reasons men delay coming forward: embarrassment, fear that it may be cancer or the belief it’s just a natural part of ageing and there’s nothing they can do. In fact there are plenty of steps they can take to make their lives better.
“BPH can have a significant effect on quality of life, affecting sleep, work, relationships and sex. If left untreated, it can result in complications such as bladder infections, acute or chronic urine retention, which can affect the kidneys, and hernia from straining.”
He added: “This campaign couldn’t be more timely or necessary. Prostate health is extremely important but often overlooked or avoided. Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the UK but getting a diagnosis early can help detect it at a more treatable stage. However, for the vast majority, getting their prostate symptoms checked out will result in a sense of relief when they realise they have a non-cancerous and treatable condition.
“Research shows that prescription medicines, lifestyle changes and natural remedies, such as saw palmetto, can all make a difference so there’s really no need to suffer in silence. I’d encourage all men to take five minutes to check their symptoms.”
For more information visit: http://www.avogel.co.uk/health/enlarged-prostate/bph/.
** Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or more commonly known as an enlarged prostate, affects approximately 50 per cent of men over the age of 50.
BPH symptoms can include:
A need to pass water more frequently or urgently (often at night), with occasional leaking or dribbling;
Hesitancy in passing water even when needed, weak stream or straining to go;
A feeling that the bladder is never fully empty, even after water has been passed.