General Lifestyle Recommendations
Certain lifestyle changes may help relieve symptoms and are particularly important for men who choose to avoid surgery or drug therapy. They include:
- Limit daily fluid intake to less than 2,000 mL (about 2 quarts).
- Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Limit beverages in the evening. Avoid drinking fluids after your evening meal.
- Try to urinate at least once every 3 hours.
- “Double-voiding” may be helpful -- after urinating, wait and try to urinate again.
- Stay active. Cold weather and immobility may increase the risk for urine retention. Keeping warm and exercising may help.
Avoiding Medications that Aggravate Symptoms
Decongestants and Antihistamines. Men with BPH should avoid, if possible, the many medications for colds and allergies that contain decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Such drugs, known as adrenergics, can exacerbate urinary symptoms by preventing muscles in the prostate and bladder neck from relaxing to allow urine to flow freely. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can also slow urine flow in some men with BPH.
Diuretics. Men who are taking diuretics, which increase urination, may want to talk to their doctor about reducing the dosage or switching to another type of drug. Diuretics are important drugs for many people with high blood pressure, with a proven track record for saving lives. No one should go off these medications without medical supervision.
Other Drugs. Other drugs that may worsen symptoms are certain antidepressants and drugs used to treat spasticity.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Pelvic floor muscle exercises, first developed to help women with childbirth, may also help men prevent urine leakage, particularly after surgical procedures. These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that both support the bladder and close the sphincter.
Review Date: 07/20/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.