Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous medical condition that primarily affects older men. It’s when the prostate gland—a small, walnut-shaped gland that sits just below the bladder—becomes enlarged.
As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze or partially block the urethra—the passageway that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. This can cause urinary and sexual problems.
BPH isn’t the same as prostate cancer, but the two conditions can have similar symptoms. They may also happen simultaneously. That’s why it’s important to see a sexual health doctor if you experience any urinary or sexual symptoms.
BPH is also a condition that becomes increasingly more common as men age. One study claims that it affects 42% of men aged 51 to 60; 70% of men aged 61 to 70; and 90% of men aged 81 and above.
Despite its common occurrence, many men fail to get diagnosed and treated by medical professionals out of shame and embarrassment over this condition. However, these men are just putting themselves at increased risk since by delaying treatment, it’ll be more difficult to manage symptoms that have progressed later in life.
Therefore, getting an annual check-up, especially during the initial onset of symptoms, is key to healthy living. Here’s more information about BPH—including its symptoms and treatment procedures.
Causes of an Enlarged Prostate
Medical researchers until now can’t confidently pinpoint the exact cause of an enlarged prostate. However, it may be caused by a combination of factors, including:
- The aging process
- Hormonal changes
- Family history
While the cause of an enlarged prostate is still under investigation, what we do know is that as men age, they’re more likely to develop this condition.
As men get older, their levels of testosterone—the androgen responsible for male characteristics—slowly start to decline. This drop in testosterone may cause an increase in another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is linked to the growth of prostate cells and BPH.
Family history also plays a role in developing an enlarged prostate. According to one study, about 60% of the phenotypic variation of BPH is attributable to inherited factors.
7 Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
Some people with an enlarged prostate may not experience any urinary symptoms at all. In fact, many men with this condition go undiagnosed because they don’t experience any issues.
However, for those who do develop symptoms, the most common recorded issues are urinary problems. This is because the prostate’s enlargement can block or partly block the urethra, which is the tube that drains urine from your bladder out of your body.
Here are seven common symptoms that BPH patients may face:
- A weak or interrupted urinary stream: BPH patients may have to wait a long time before they can urinate, even when they intend to do so.
- A feeling that you can’t empty your bladder completely: You may feel like you still have to go even after you’ve just urinated. You may also strain when urinating.
- A frequent need to urinate, especially at night: BPH patients may have an increased interest in urinating, having to go as often as every half-hour.
- Difficulty starting urination: The urinary stream may start and stop, or it may be weak. In some cases, it might not come out at all.
- Leaking or dribbling of urine: If you can’t fully empty your bladder, you may leak urine.
- Urinary urgency: This is a sudden, compelling need to urinate that’s difficult to control.
- Blood in the urine: There may be traces of blood after a trip to the restroom.
If you’re facing one or a combination of the above symptoms, seek urgent medical care. BPH may not be fatal, but it can be debilitating and negatively impact one’s quality of life.
Who is at Risk for BPH?
There are several risk factors associated with a BPH diagnosis. Some of the people who are more at risk of developing BPH include the following:
- Older men (>50 years old)
- Men whose brothers, uncles, or fathers had BPH
- Obese and overweight men
- Men with sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction
- Men who don’t keep up an active lifestyle
If you have any of the above risk factors, consider scheduling an appointment with a men’s sexual health specialist.
What Can BPH Lead To?
While BPH isn’t deadly on its own, it can lead to serious complications if left untreated. These medical complications manifest as lower urinary tract symptoms and can include:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): BPH can obstruct the urinary tract, which can lead to urinary tract infections.
- Digestive and kidney diseases: BPH may lead to kidney damage and dysfunction.
- Bladder stones: When urine can’t flow out properly, it may form small stones in the gall bladder.
- Acute urinary retention: This is when you can’t completely empty your bladder. This may lead to overflow incontinence, where urine leaks from the bladder.
- Renal failure: In rare cases, BPH may lead to renal failure.
If you have any of the following problems, it’s critical to get medical assistance right away.
Can Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Lead to Prostate Cancer?
While the symptoms of prostate cancer and BPH can overlap, BPH does not increase one’s risk of prostate cancer. The “benign” in BPH means that it’s non-cancerous, so while it would need medical attention, it’s not cancer.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Treatment
There are no home remedies that can effectively treat an enlarged prostate. The only way to manage the condition is through medication, minimally invasive procedures, or prostate tissue surgery.
The type of treatment that’s best for you will depend on your specific case.
Your doctor may prescribe you one or a few of the following treatment plans to remedy prostate enlargement:
- Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
- Rezum therapy
- Urolift procedure
- Photovaporization of the prostate (PVP)
- Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP)
Contact Jacksonville’s Top Men’s Clinic for Treatment of Male Health Dysfunctions
BPH is a common condition that affects millions of men around the world. While it’s not cancerous, it can lead to serious medical complications if left untreated.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of an enlarged prostate, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. With the right treatment, you can live a healthy life with little symptomatic interferences.
The medical professionals at Jacksonville’s Prime Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, Andropause, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.