What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
The prostate is a walnut sized gland in the male reproductive system that produces semen. It is located beneath the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra. The prostate is responsible not only for producing semen, but also controlling the urinary flow from the bladder. When the prostate gland gets enlarged to an extent to cause urinary obstruction and sexual dysfunction, it is referred to as Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is generally experienced by men over 50 years of age and is a very common problem.
What are the causes of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
Changes in hormone balance that occur when a man is in his 40's seem to be the pre-dominant cause of Benign prostatic hyperplasia. With age, testosterone levels decrease, while other hormone levels rise. The result in an increase in a testosterone derivative - dihydrotestosterone that promotes cell growth in the prostate. This results in the enlargement of the gland and consequent tightening of the urethra within the gland. Other causes of BPH include neoplasm, arteriosclerosis, inflammation, and metabolic or nutritional disturbances.
When the prostatic urethra thus gets compressed urinary flow is obstructed. The bladder may not get emptied and remaining pools of urine can lead to infection or formation of stones.
What are the symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
- Reduced urinary flow
- Difficulty in urination
- Incomplete voiding
- Urine retention
- Frequent urination urge
- Physical exam will reveal a distended bladder
As BPH progresses there may be infection, renal insufficiency, hemorrhage and shock.