Healthy Living

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or enlarged prostate gland is a very common condition seen in elderly men. It is also known as prostatic hypertrophy. Enlargement of the glands occurs around the age of 30-years-old, and progresses gradually causing a number of urinary symptoms by the time a man turns 50-years-old. Although it is not a very serious condition, it can be quite bothersome because it affects the flow of urine in men, especially when they reach the age of 70-years-old. The flow of urine is blocked when the enlarged prostate gland compress the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the kidneys.

Age seems to be the most important factor in increasing the risk of prostate enlargement. Changes in the hormone levels and cell growth are considered to initiate the enlargement of the gland making it normal in elderly men. Family history also seems to play an important role in getting this condition. If a person has any of the blood relative with this condition, it increases the chances of getting this disease.

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Symptoms of enlarged prostate gland often cause urinary symptoms:

  • Difficulty in starting urination
  • Difficulty in stopping urination completely
  • Weak urine stream
  • Need to urinate frequently
  • Troubled sleep due to increased frequency of urination
  • Feeling that urine is not completely drained
  • Frequent urinary infections
  • Formation of kidney stones
  • Reduced kidney functions

The symptoms of this condition do not increase with the size of the prostate gland. Men with slight enlargement of the prostate gland may have more symptoms, while those with enlarged prostates may not have many obvious symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms may improve over a period of a time.

It is better to make an appointment with a doctor if you have any urinary problems. This is important even if the symptoms are not very troublesome.

Leaving an enlarged prostate gland untreated can cause:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bladder stones
  • Urinary retention
  • Bladder damage
  • Kidney damage

Treatment is recommended only if people have significant symptoms. In most cases, when the symptoms are not bothersome, doctors may opt for watchful monitoring.