Prostatic hyperplasia, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged. The prostate gland is a small gland located in the male reproductive system, and its main function is to produce semen.
BPH is a common condition that typically affects men over the age of 50. It occurs when the cells in the prostate gland begin to multiply, causing the gland to increase in size. The enlarged prostate can press against the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body, and cause symptoms such as:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak urine stream
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Frequent need to urinate, especially at night
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
- Urinary tract infections
The exact cause of BPH is not known, but it is believed to be related to changes in hormone levels as men age. Risk factors for BPH include family history, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Diagnosis of BPH typically involves a physical exam, including a digital rectal exam, and a urinalysis. Imaging tests such as ultrasound may also be used to evaluate the size and shape of the prostate gland.
Treatment options for BPH depend on the severity of the symptoms and the degree of prostate enlargement. Mild cases may not require treatment, but in more severe cases, medication or surgery may be necessary. Medications such as alpha-blockers or 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors can help to relax the muscles in the prostate gland and reduce its size. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove part or all of the prostate gland. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.