Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
BPH is a non-cancerous increase in the size and number of cells that make up the prostate. BPH is almost always found in men age 40 years and older; therefore, young men almost never experience symptoms of an enlarged prostate. The prostate enlarges over the course of many years of exposure to male hormones, and young men typically have not had enough years of exposure for symptoms to appear.
What Causes BPH?
During puberty, the prostate goes through a phase of very rapid enlargement, but this levels off once puberty is completed. Starting in mid-life, the prostate often begins growing again, but this time very slowly.
It is thought that these periods of growth result from increased levels of male hormones such as testosterone. Testosterone is produced throughout a man’s life and, consequently, the prostate grows throughout a man’s life. Due to the slow progression of this growth, most men do not notice any symptoms of BPH until they are older and the prostate has grown to such a size that it impinges on the outflow of urine from the bladder.
Symptoms of BPH
Many men have no symptoms. But those who do can experience:
- Difficulty starting a urine stream
- Decreased strength of the urine stream
- Dribbling after urination
- A feeling that the bladder is not completely empty
- An urge to urinate again soon after urinating
- Pain during urination
- Waking at night to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate
More serious symptoms that can develop over time include:
- A weak bladder
- Backflow of urine, causing bladder or kidney infections
- Complete blockage in the flow of urine
- Kidney failure
BPH Treatment Options
- Watchful waiting
- Herbal supplements
- Medications (e.g., alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors)
- Prostate microwave thermotherapy
- Laser vaporization of the prostate
- UroLift System
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
- Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP)
- Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)
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