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Health Update

Benign prostatic hyperplasia – also called BPH – is a condition in men in which the prostate gland enlarges.

BPH develops as a strictly age-related phenomenon in nearly all men, starting at approximately 40 years of age. The prevalence of BPH is approximately 10% for men in their 30s, 20% for men in their 40s, reaches 50% to 60% for men in their 60s, and is 80% to 90% for men in their 70s and 80s.

The prostate is a walnut-sized, male reproductive gland that produces the fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. The prostate is located below the bladder and surrounds the urethra – the tube through which urine passes out of the body.

As the prostate enlarges, it constricts the urethra and causes urination and bladder emptying problems. Other than genetics, the actual cause of prostate enlargement remains unknown.

Here are some key facts about prostate enlargement to be aware of:

  • BPH is so common that almost all men will get BPH if they live long enough
  • No risk factors have been identified other than having normally functioning testicles
  • BPH is not cancer and it does not increase your risk for prostate cancer

Prostate enlargement can cause numerous symptoms, including:

  • Slowed or delayed start of the urinary stream
  • Weak urine stream
  • Straining to urinate
  • Strong and sudden urge to urinate
  • Incontinence (loss of urinary control)
  • Painful urination or bloody urine (these may indicate infection)
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Needing to urinate two or more times per night

Untreated BPH has the potential to lead to more serious complications, ranging from urinary tract infections (UTIs) and stones in the bladder or kidney, to urinary retention and kidney damage.

It is important that you report any bothersome symptoms promptly to your urologist as we have many effective treatments to help you.