Men’s Health

“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.”

- Spanish Proverb

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Medical X-Ray Scan - Prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that only occurs in men, refers to the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.

An enlarged prostate gland is a normal part of ageing for 50 % of men over the age of 60 years. Half of these men will need treatment for the condition, and one 1 in 10 will need surgery.

The prostate gland is situated in front of the rectum and below the bladder. It completely surrounds the urethra, which is why an enlarged prostate can lead to urinary difficulties.

This condition is non-cancerous, but because of the overgrowth of the prostate gland, the outlet of the bladder can be obstructed, causing a weak urine stream, hesitancy, urinary frequency, urgency, frequent urination at night, incomplete emptying of the bladder, dribbling, urge incontinence and urinary retention.

Possible risk factors for BPH include a western diet, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and an industrialised environment. This condition also tends to run in families. However, there’s no certain way of preventing BPH and clinical studies in this field are ongoing.

Watchful waiting, medication and surgery are the three treatment options for BPH. Sometimes the symptoms resolve themselves and don’t need any treatment.

It must be stressed that BPH isn’t prostate cancer, and that there’s no connection between the two conditions. But all men over 50 should nevertheless have a yearly prostate check, as prostate cancer remains a risk to all men over this age – whether they’ve had BPH, and/or surgery for BPH, or not.

(Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to provide general background information and not to substitute any medical diagnosis or advice received from a qualified healthcare professional.)

References

– Andriole, Gerald, L. MD. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Merck Manual. (March 2014) [Online] Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/benign-prostate-disease/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-bph. Accessed: 30 July 2015
– Van Wijk, Frans, MD. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Health24.com. January 2011 [Online] Available at: http://www.health24.com/Medical/Prostate/Enlarged-prostate/Benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-BPH-20120721. Accessed: 30 July 2015

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