Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate. As the prostate gland grows, it squeezes against the urethra and makes it hard to pass urine. This can block the flow of urine from your bladder and make it hard to empty your bladder completely when you urinate. But there are ways to control for BPH symptoms so that you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
CAUSES OF BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA
The cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia is not well understood; however, it occurs mainly in older men. Benign prostatic hyperplasia does not develop in men whose testicles were removed before puberty. For this reason, some researchers believe factors related to aging and the testicles may cause benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Throughout their lives, men produce testosterone, a male hormone, and small amounts of estrogen, a female hormone. As men age, the amount of active testosterone in their blood decreases, which leaves a higher proportion of estrogen. Scientific studies have suggested that benign prostatic hyperplasia may occur because the higher proportion of estrogen within the prostate increases the activity of substances that promote prostate cell growth.
Another theory focuses on dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone that plays a role in prostate development and growth. Some research has indicated that even with a drop in blood testosterone levels, older men continue to produce and accumulate high levels of DHT in the prostate. This accumulation of DHT may encourage prostate cells to continue to grow. Scientists have noted that men who do not produce DHT do not develop benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Who is more likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia?
Men with the following factors are more likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia:
- age 40 years and older
- family history of benign prostatic hyperplasia
- medical conditions such as obesity, heart and circulatory disease, and type 2 diabetes
- lack of physical exercise
- erectile dysfunction
SYMPTOMS OF BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA
Lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia may include
- Urinary frequency—urination eight or more times a day.
- Urinary urgency—the inability to delay urination.
- Trouble starting a urine stream.
- A weak or an interrupted urine stream.
- Dribbling at the end of urination.
- Nocturia—frequent urination during periods of sleep.
- Urinary retention.
- Urinary incontinence—the accidental loss of urine.
- Pain after ejaculation or during urination.
- Urine that has an unusual color or smell.
COMMON COMPLICATIONS OF BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA
The complications of benign prostatic hyperplasia may include
- acute urinary retention
- chronic, or long lasting, urinary retention
- blood in the urine
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- bladder damage
- kidney damage
- bladder stones
Most men with benign prostatic hyperplasia do not develop these complications. However, kidney damage in particular can be a serious health threat when it occurs.
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL HELP!!!!
A person may have urinary symptoms unrelated to benign prostatic hyperplasia that are caused by bladder problems, UTIs, or prostatitis—inflammation of the prostate. Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia also can signal more serious conditions, including prostate cancer.
Men with symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia should see a health care provider.
Men with the following symptoms should seek immediate medical care:
complete inability to urinate
painful, frequent, and urgent need to urinate, with fever and chills
blood in the urine
great discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen and urinary tract