Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common urological condition caused by the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland as men get older. As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze down on the urethra.  The symptoms associated with BPH are known as lower urinary tract symptoms.  This can cause men to have trouble urinating and leads to symptoms of BPH. The symptoms associated with BPH are known as lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS)

What are the risk factors for BPH?

         Risk factors for developing BPH include:

  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Increasing age
  • Family history of BPH

What are the symptoms associated with BPH?

Since the prostate is just below the bladder, its enlargement can result in symptoms that irritate or obstruct the bladder.  Common symptoms are:

  • the need to frequently empty the bladder, especially at night
  • difficulty in beginning to urinate
  • dribbling after urination ends
  • decreased size and strength of the urine stream
  • sensation that the bladder is not empty, even after a man is done urinating,
  • inability to postpone urination once the urge to urinate begins
  • Pushing or straining in order to urinate.

In extreme cases, a man might not be able to urinate at all, which is an emergency that requires prompt attention.

How is BPH diagnosed?

When a health care provider checks a man for an enlarged prostate, he or she takes an in-depth health history. The provider does a physical exam, along with a digital rectal exam (DRE). The health care provider will often do a urine test called a urinalysis for a man with an enlarged prostate. The provider may also run other tests, including:

  • prostate specific antigen (PSA) -  a blood test to screen for prostate cancer
  • a measurement of post-void residual volume (PVR), the amount of urine left in the bladder after urinating
  • cystoscopy -  a direct look in the urethra and/or bladder using a small flexible scope

What are the most common treatment options for BPH?

    • Medication therapy
    • Surgical treatment
    • Watchful waiting