Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as prostate gland enlargement, is a condition where the prostate increases in size and causes complications. It affects all men as they age.
In adult males, the prostate is typically the size of a golf ball. In BPH, it can enlarge to the size of an orange. The urethra may be squeezed as the gland grows. The bladder may get weakened and lost the ability to completely empty the bladder. It can cause complication to the kidneys, urinary system, or bladder. Many of the lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) of BPH are caused by these issues.
BPH is not cancerous and does not increase one’s risk of having prostate cancer. Prostate gland enlargement has no exact cure. The symptoms can be effectively managed with variety of drugs, minimally invasive therapies, and surgical procedures. The treatment plan will depend on the severity of the symptoms and the other co-existing health issues.
Prostate gland enlargement can cause a variety of symptoms, all of which tend to get progressively worsen over time. Common BPH warning signs and symptoms include:
- Constant urge to urinate
- Frequently awakening at night to urinate
- Inability to fully empty the bladder
- Trouble starting to urinate
- Weak urine stream or flow
- Uncontrollable leaking (incontinence)
- Bladder stones
- Urinary tract infection
- Urinary dysfunction
- Blood in the urine
- Kidney damage
The signs and symptoms of prostate gland enlargement vary in every person. In some, the symptoms may resolve or get better on its own. However, the severity of the condition is not always influenced by the size of the prostate. Some men with significantly enlarged prostates may only experience mild and few urinary symptoms, while others with mildly enlarged prostates may deal with many symptoms or difficulties.
It is advised to seek a healthcare professional for any urinary issues. It may be urgent especially to those who are unable to urinate or has blood in their urine. It is crucial to detect or eliminate any underlying causes of the symptoms even if it is still mild or tolerable. There can be a urinary tract blockage resulting from untreated urinary issues. The appointment will also help rule out other more serious conditions aside from BPH.
The is still no exact reason for prostate enlargement. Some attribute it to the hormonal changes as a man gets older. The prostate cells may grow when the body produces less testosterone while the estrogen levels stay the same at the same time.
The prostate, a small gland located between the penis and bladder, doubles in size as the person reaches puberty and continues grow throughout his life. When it persistently grows and expands, the tube through which urine passes (urethra), may be compressed, or obstructs by the mass effect. This can cause discomfort and urinary symptoms.
Other possible causes of urinary symptoms
Other illnesses that may have symptoms resembling BPH are:
- Urinary tract infection
- Urethral stricture
- Scarring, from prior surgery at the bladder neck
- Bladder or kidney stones
- Issues with the nerves that regulate the bladder
- Prostate and bladder cancer
Several factors can contribute to the development of prostate gland enlargement, such as:
- Aging: BPH affects around half of all males between the ages of 51 and 60. It affects up to 90% of males over 80. The severity of signs and symptoms may vary for every age group. It is usually nonexistent for men under the age of 40, while one-third of men in their 60’s may experience moderate to severe. The percentage of men experiencing symptoms grows to about a half by the time they are 80.
- History: Men who have male relatives with medical history of prostate disease have an increased risk of developing BPH.
- Lifestyle: Being overweight increases the risk of BPH. A daily workout of at least 30 minutes may help prevent BPH or decrease the growth of the prostate. It’s crucial to keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
- Preexisting disease: According to studies, a man’s risk of having BPH rises with diabetes, heart illnesses, and the use of beta blockers.