An in-depth report about the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged. The size of the gland does not necessarily predict symptom severity. Some men with minimally enlarged prostate glands experience many symptoms while other men with much larger glands have few symptoms. BPH is very common among older men, affecting about 50% of men over age 60 and 85% of men over age 80.
The symptoms associated with BPH are collectively called lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). These are generally classified as either voiding (obstructive) symptoms or storage (irritative) symptoms.
Common symptoms of BPH include:
- An urgent need to urinate and difficulty postponing urination
- A hesitation before urine flow starts despite the urgency to urinate
- Straining when urinating
- Weak or intermittent urinary stream
- A sense that the bladder has not emptied completely
- Dribbling at the end of urination or leakage afterward
Urinary retention (inability to void) is a serious symptom of severe BPH that requires immediate medical attention.
BPH is not a cancerous or precancerous condition. It rarely causes serious complications, and men often have a choice whether to treat it immediately or delay treatment. Treatment options include medications and surgery. Alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs) are the main types of drugs used for BPH treatment.
5-ARIs and Prostate Cancer
A controversial matter is whether 5-ARIs help protect against prostate cancer. Studies have suggested that 5-ARIs lower a man's overall risk for developing prostate cancer. However, the FDA has advised that these drugs may actually increase the risk of developing high-grade aggressive types of prostate cancer.