Enlarged Prostate (BPH)

Enlargement of the prostate gland is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).

BPH occurs when the cells of your prostate gland begin to multiply and squeezes the urethra. This blocks your urine flow out of the bladder causing urinary problems.

Prostatectomy involves the removal of a part or all of the prostate. Transurethral resection of the prostate is a procedure that inserts an instrument in the penis and removes the prostate tissue.

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What is a Prostate Gland?

It is a gland in the male reproductive system, which is muscular in nature. It is positioned around the urethra and is responsible for making most of the fluid in the semen. 

The muscular action of this gland is responsible to propel the semen through the urethra during the climax.

With aging in men, practically half of all the male population develop an enlargement of the prostate by the age of 50 years. 

However, it will be termed as BPH, with symptoms such as incontinence (urinary urgency) results. Prostate enlargement is medically termed as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)/ Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy.

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia condition?

Hyperplasia is an abnormal multiplication of cells. BPH is a condition that resulted from the multiplication of cells of the prostate gland, thereby increasing its size.

 The result is it compresses the urethra it surrounds and impedes the regular flow of urine. BPH is not equivalent to prostate cancer and neither does it contribute to the risk of cancer.

 BPH affects the lifestyle of the individual developing the condition, because of its symptoms, but is not a life-threatening condition. 

What are the causes of BPH?

  • Aging: Older men above the age of 80 years commonly show the symptoms of BPH.
  • Exact cause: Unknown. Although, change in male sex hormone attributed to aging could be a factor.
  • Family history: Prostate problems in the family can have individuals prone to BPH. E.g. a father or brother with diagnosed prostate problems.
  • Anomalies in the function of the prostate could also lead to BPH.

What are the symptoms of BPH?

BPH generally begins with mild symptoms. The intensity of the symptoms may vary from person to person. The general trend is, from mild to worse over a period of time. 

If the symptoms are neglected; the most severe cases report kidney failure. There are no specific predisposing factors determining one's proneness to BPH. 

Some men may have severe symptoms with little enlargement, while others may have substantial enlargement of the prostate with mild symptoms.

 In some cases, it has been observed that symptoms stabilize and may even improve gradually with time.

BPH is treatable. Treatment certainly can prevent complications. One should consider reaching a doctor in the advent of the following symptoms:
  • Frequency of urination increases, which is more at night.
  • The urgency to relieve urine increases.
  • Delayed start while urination.
  • A slow rate of urination.
  • Intermittent stream of urine.
  • Leakage of urine.

What are the uncommon symptoms of BPH?

  • Failure to urinate.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Blood in the urine.

What are the risk factors associated with BPH?

  • Heart disease: Studies have shown the use of beta-blockers increases the risk of BPH.
  • Diabetes.
  • Lifestyle: BPH poses an increased risk to obese men. A regular exercise regimen can lower the risk.

What are the complications associated with BPH?

Complications in BPH are rare and may arise only when the mild symptoms are medically unattended. 

However, the observed ones are as described below-

  • Urinary tract infection: Due to incomplete release of urine.
  • Bladder damage: Constant retention of urine could lead to the weakening of the bladder muscles. This could further contribute to an inability to empty the bladder.
  • Bladder stones: Caused by the constant retention of urine that irritates the bladder and can lead to a bladder infection, blockage of urine flow, and could be a cause of blood in the urine.

What are the preventive measures for BPH?

  • A balanced diet comprising a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • Maintaining optimal weight.
  • Regular exercises.

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