Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical name for what is commonly called an enlarged prostate. About 50 percent of men between the age of 51 and 60 have BPH. The risk increases with age – nearly 90 percent of men over the age of 80 have BPH.

The prostate makes fluids for semen. It’s a small gland that grows around the urethra – the tube that drains urine from the bladder. As it expands, it can squeeze the urethra, making it difficult to urinate and fully empty the bladder.

Every man’s prostate grows throughout his life, but only some men will develop symptoms that interfere with their life. Men with prostate enlargement, or BPH, might have the following symptoms:

  • Feeling of a full bladder, even after urinating
  • Urgency to urinate
  • A weak or interrupted stream
  • Trouble starting to urinate
  • Needing to push or strain to urinate
  • Dribbling
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • Painful urination or ejaculation

BPH symptoms will not go away on their own, but there are many possible treatments ranging from medications to surgery. Talking to your doctor is the first step to getting relief.

BPH can be an uncomfortable subject, but the more you know, the easier it is to talk about.

Did you know that:

  1. The prostate grows at puberty and then starts growing again in a man’s mid-twenties. It continues to grow for nearly the rest of his life. BPH can develop at any time in that life-long growth phase.
  2. BPH is not cancer. It also does not increase your risk of cancer, but BPH and cancer can occur at the same time.
  3. Most men will develop BPH, but less than half will have symptoms that affect their quality of life.
  4. Nobody knows exactly what causes BPH, but it might be related to hormonal changes with age.
  5. Untreated BPH can lead to a thickened bladder wall, bladder stones, urinary retention, severe urinary tract infections, and kidney failure.
  6. The size of the prostate doesn’t determine how severe the symptoms are. Every man is different.
  7. Being obese, not exercising, and having a family history of BPH all raise your risk for developing it.
  8. A healthy lifestyle, including exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent BPH.
  9. There are a variety of treatment options for BPH. They include lifestyle changes, catheterization, medications, procedures like water vapor thermal therapy or laser therapies, and surgery.
  10. Not all treatments have sexual side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about this.

Many men are uncomfortable talking about their symptoms or are worried that testing for BPH will be uncomfortable. If you’re having symptoms of BPH, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider openly about your symptoms and your concerns and to determine the best treatment. Untreated BPH can lead to severe and painful complications. There are also other conditions that have some of the same symptoms as BPH. Your doctor will need to rule out other causes to ensure you receive the most effective treatment for your condition.

If you are experiencing symptoms of BPH, don’t suffer any longer – schedule an appointment today!