Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH, is an enlarged prostate that commonly causes urinary problems in men age 50 and older. It is a common condition that occurs as men age, causing the gland to press against the urethra and cause problems with urination. BPH may also be due to an excess of certain hormones in the body.

Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

More than 50 percent of men age 50 and older are affected by benign prostatic hyperplasia. While the exact cause is unknown, as the prostate expands, more and more urinary symptoms develop. Men with this condition may experience:

  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder when urinating
  • Slowed urine stream
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden urge to urinate

As symptoms progress, patients may also develop bladder stones, blood in the urine or a bladder infection. This condition will continue to worsen if left untreated.

Diagnosis of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

BPH is diagnosed through a physical examination by a doctor, which may also include the following tests:

  • Digital rectal exam
  • Urinalysis
  • Prostate specific antigen test or PSA
  • Cystoscopy

A series of urodynamic tests may also be performed to investigate any urinary problems that may be caused by BPH.

Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Patients with mild symptoms may only need to monitor their condition for signs that it is worsening, while more severe cases may require medication to inhibit hormone production or relax the muscle in the prostate. Two common types of medication for enlarged prostate are:

  • Alpha blockers
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors

In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the prostate tissue that is blocking the flow of urine. There are several surgical procedures available for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, including:

  • Transurethral resection of the prostate
  • Transurethral needle ablation
  • Transurethral microwave thermotherapy
  • Transurethral vaporization of the prostate
  • Urethral stent
  • Open surgery

Surgery for BPH usually provides effective results for at least 15 years. Patients should continue to have rectal and prostate exams once a year and should see their doctor at the first sign of recurring symptoms.

There are a wide range of treatment options available for an enlarged prostrate and if treated promptly and effectively, patients can live relatively normal lives.

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