Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH); a fancy medical term for enlarged prostate.
As we discussed earlier, the prostate has two growth phases. My research data has varied depending on the source, but the the common thread is that at some point in a mans life, the prostate begins to slowly increase in size. The term benign means not harmful and/or malignant (i.e. not yet cancer).
So why does that matter to men? It’s common. Although symptoms are rare in men younger than 40, they increase with age. It affects up to 50% of men age 50 and older. Men 80 years of age and older the occurrence rises to almost 90%.
How does it happen? The exact cause is not well understood, although we know it happens in older men and likely involves changing in hormone levels with aging. I mentioned earlier the prostate is a fibrous sack that our urethra travels through. To urinate, urine from the bladder must pass through the prostate. Because of the fibrous nature of the prostate, as it grows it eventually puts pressure on the urethra making it increasingly difficult to initiate a stream of urine and fully empty the bladder.
Who’s at risk?
- Men over 40
- Men with a family history of BPH
- Men with obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes
- Physically inactive men
- Men with erectile dysfunction
What are the symptoms of BPH?
- Increase urge to urinate
- Feeling or need to urinate urgently
- Trouble starting a urine stream
- A weak or an interrupted urine stream
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Frequent urination during periods of sleep
- Urinary retention
- Incontinence, the accidental loss of urine
- Pain after ejaculation or during urination
- Urine that has an unusual color or smell
These symptoms are most commonly caused by the prostate pinching/blocking the urethra or an overworked bladder attempting to pass urine through a blockage.
Next, we’ll discuss the complications of BPH, how it’s diagnosed, and our treatment options.