Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The enlargement of prostate without any malignancy or cancerous growth, is referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Although, some degree of tissue or glandular enlargement is normal with advancing age; but in some cases, the enlargement becomes significant and may impede with the flow of urine from the urethra. In some cases, there may even be complete cessation of urinary flow. It is imperative to mention that BPH does not potentiate the risk of developing prostate cancer; as it is an entirely different condition.
Prostate gland is the vital part of male reproductive system. It is located below the bladder and surrounds prostatic part of urethra. Seminal vesicles and prostate gland are responsible for the production of fluid that along with sperm, makes the semen or male ejaculate.
Causes Of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
There are no specific causes that may explain the development of troublesome Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in some men; however, aging may be one of the most significant risk factor. 1 in 5 men are likely at risk of developing BPH after reaching their 50s, as suggested by the latest data presented by Prostate Cancer Foundation. The risk gets even higher by the time men reach 7th decade of life. A BPH family history may also be a contributing risk factor. Comparatively obese people are also at greater risk of developing BPH.
Symptoms Associated With BPH
Frequent urination is the early red flag symptom of BPH. This results from the added pressure imposed onto the bladder due to prostate enlargement. The symptoms of BPH may aggravate with time. Other symptoms may include:
If BPH remains untreated, many complications may develop such as:
- Inability to pass the urine
- Infection in the bladder
- Bladder stones
- Painful ejaculation
- Urine incontinence
- Presence of blood in the urine
- Renal or kidney related complications
Diagnosis Of BPH
Differential diagnosis may at times become a need as kidney stones and prostate inflammation causes more or less similar symptoms. To rule out urine infection, the doctor may recommend some urine tests. Blood test is also done to determine the PSA count. The levels of PSA are often elevated in case of prostate enlargement.
Treatment is dependent upon the severity of the symptoms. Simple healthy lifestyle habits may help tackle the mild symptoms whereas for serious symptoms following treatment protocol may be followed:
- Medications: Medicines may be used to treat BPH. Drugs such as alpha blockers may help in relaxing the urethral and bladder muscles or tissues to enhance the urine flow. However, medications may cause side effects like dizziness and low blood pressure. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors may also be used to shrink the prostate glandular hypertrophy.
- Surgery: Surgery is the second option and is employed when medication fails to alleviate the symptoms. Several surgical procedures can be performed ranging from minimal to fully invasive approaches. Non-invasive procedures employ the use of laser whereas in invasive procedures the enlarged prostate tissue is removed using invasive techniques.
There aren’t many preventive measures for BPH as it is associated with aging, which is an inevitable biological process. But men can always focus on maintaining healthy prostate by staying in perfect shape as cell growth is deeply affected by the excess fat accumulation in the body. Exercising regularly and consuming a diet rich in fruits and veggies can be another healthy take on preventing BPH.
- Parsons, J. K., Sarma, A. V., McVary, K., & Wei, J. T. (2013). Obesity and benign prostatic hyperplasia: clinical connections, emerging etiological paradigms and future directions. The Journal of urology, 189(1), S102-S106.
- Bagla, S., Martin, C. P., van Breda, A., Sheridan, M. J., Sterling, K. M., Papadouris, D., … & van Breda, A. (2014). Early results from a United States trial of prostatic artery embolization in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 25(1), 47-52.