What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
(BPH) is an enlarged
prostate gland . The prostate gland surrounds the
urethra, the tube that carries urine from the
bladder out of the body. As the prostate gets bigger,
it may squeeze or partly block the urethra. This often causes problems
BPH occurs in almost all men as they age. BPH is not
cancer. An enlarged prostate can be a nuisance. But it is usually not a serious
problem. About half of all men older than 75 have some symptoms.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is also known as benign prostatic
What causes BPH?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is probably a normal part of the aging
process in men, caused by changes in hormone balance and in cell growth.
What are the symptoms?
urinary problems such as:
- Trouble getting a urine stream started and
completely stopped (dribbling).
- Often feeling like you need to
urinate. This feeling may even wake you up at night.
- A weak urine
- A sense that your bladder is not completely empty after
In a small number of cases, BPH may cause the bladder to be
blocked, making it impossible or extremely hard to urinate. This problem may
cause backed-up urine (urinary retention), leading to
bladder infections or
stones, or kidney damage.
BPH does not
cause prostate cancer and does not affect a man's ability to father children.
It does not cause
How is BPH diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose BPH by asking
questions about your symptoms and past health and by doing a physical exam.
Tests may include a urine test (urinalysis) and a
digital rectal exam, which lets your doctor feel the
size of your prostate. In some cases, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is
done to help rule out prostate cancer. (Prostate cancer and BPH are not
related, but they can cause some of the same symptoms.)
doctor may ask you how often you have symptoms of BPH, how severe they are, and
how much they affect your life. If your symptoms are mild to moderate and do
not bother you much, home treatment may be all that you need to help keep them
under control. Your doctor may want to see you regularly to check on your
symptoms and make sure other problems haven't come up.
use this tool to help you think about how bothersome your symptoms are:
- Interactive Tool: How Bad Are Your Urinary Symptoms From Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
How is it treated?
a rule, you don't need treatment for BPH unless the symptoms bother you or you
have other problems such as backed-up urine, bladder infections, or bladder
Although home treatment cannot stop your prostate from
getting larger, it can help reduce or control your symptoms. Here are some
things you can do that may help reduce your symptoms:
- Practice "double voiding." Urinate as much as
you can, relax for a few moments, and then urinate again.
caffeine and alcohol. They make your body try to get rid of water and can make
you urinate more often.
- If possible, avoid medicines that can make
urination difficult, such as
over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants
(including nasal sprays), and allergy pills. Check with your doctor or
pharmacist about the medicines you take.
If home treatment does not help, BPH can be treated with
medicine. Medicine can reduce the symptoms, but it rarely gets rid of them. If
you stop taking medicine, symptoms return.
If your symptoms are
severe, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove part of your prostate. But
few men have symptoms or other problems severe enough to need surgery.
Can BPH be prevented?
You cannot prevent BPH or
the urination problems it may cause. Some people believe that regular
ejaculations will help prevent prostate enlargement. But there is no scientific
proof that ejaculation helps.
Frequently Asked Questions