What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland. As men age, it’s common for the prostate to get larger. BPH does not lead to prostate cancer.
The prostate gland is in the abdomen below the bladder. It’s about the size and shape of a walnut. As part of the male reproductive system, it produces a milky white fluid that helps to transport sperm during ejaculation enlargement of the prostate may affect the flow of urine (urination).
Who is at risk for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?
What are the signs and symptoms of BPH?
As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze the urethra (the tube for urine to pass out of the body). Common symptoms of BPH are referred to as lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS):
How is BPH diagnosed?
How is BPH treated?
Treatment for BPH and its symptoms usually begins with your family doctor, who may refer you to a urologist. Your doctor may ask you to stop or change medications or treat a urinary tract infection that might be worsening your symptoms. Your doctor will usually base your treatment on the severity of your symptoms and how they affect your quality of life, rather than on the size of the prostate or medical need (unless the kidneys are affected). The most common complaints leading to treatment are interrupted sleep because of the need to urinate at night, and frequency and urgency with inability to control urination on a regular basis.
Although for most men many of the symptoms do not get worse for years, and may even get better with time, a rare complication of BPH involves a sudden and complete blockage of urination. This needs to be treated immediately.
For moderate to severe symptoms that interfere with daily life, there are three types of drug treatment:
Some men may benefit from using both alpha-adrenergic blockers and 5-alphareductase inhibitors at the same time. One or both drugs are usually continued for the rest of your life. If you stop taking them, your symptoms will return.
The main surgical treatment for BPH is a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or similar procedures to remove excessive prostate tissue blocking urine flow. Surgery is an option if you:
Although surgery can improve symptoms of BPH, it is less common since medical treatments became available. Surgery can cause long-term complications including ED and incontinence. And a small number of men need a second operation because of continued prostate growth or a narrowed urethra caused by the first surgery.
Questions to ask your doctor
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