Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate, a walnut-sized body part made of glandular and muscular tissue, grows in size. The prostate surrounds part of the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and sperm out of the body. The benign (noncancerous) condition is also called benign prostatic enlargement (BPE).
The prostate is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra passes through the prostate, so if the prostate becomes enlarged, it can keep urine or semen from passing through the urethra. The main function of the prostate is to produce fluid for the semen, the milky fluid in which sperm swims. Sperm is produced in the testicles, which also make the main male hormone testosterone. During puberty, testosterone stimulates the growth and function of the prostate, and helps with the production of fluid for semen.
Causes of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The actual cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia is unknown. Factors linked to aging and changes in the cells of the testicles may have a role in the growth of the gland, as well as testosterone levels. Men who have had their testicles removed at a young age (for example, as a result of testicular cancer) do not develop BPH.
Also, if the testicles are removed after a man develops BPH, the prostate begins to shrink in size. However, this is not a standard treatment for an enlarged prostate.
Some facts about prostate enlargement:
• The likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate increases with age.
• BPH is so common that it has been said all men will have an enlarged prostate if they live long enough.
• A small amount of prostate enlargement is present in many men over age 40. More than 90% of men over age 80 have the condition.
• No risk factors have been identified, other than having normally-functioning testicles.
Risk factors of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
• Prostate gland enlargement rarely causes signs and symptoms in men younger than age 40. About one-third of men experience moderate to severe symptoms by age 60, and about half do so by age 80.
• Family history. Having a blood relative, such as a father or a brother, with prostate problems means you’re more likely to have problems.
• Diabetes and heart disease. Studies show that diabetes, as well as heart disease and use of beta blockers, might increase the risk of BPH.
• Obesity increases the risk of BPH, while exercise can lower your risk.
Signs and Symptoms
• Difficulty starting to urinate despite pushing and straining
• A weak stream of urine; several interruptions in the stream
• Dribbling at the end of urination
Bladder changes cause:
• A sudden strong desire to urinate (urgency)
• Frequent urination
• The sensation that the bladder is not empty after urination is completed
• Frequent awakening at night to urinate (nocturia)
As the bladder becomes more sensitive to retained urine, a man may become incontinent (unable to control the bladder, causing bed wetting at night or inability to respond quickly enough to urinary urgency).
Burning or pain during urination can occur if a bladder tumor, infection or stone is present. Blood in the urine (hematuria) may herald BPH, but most men with BPH do not have hematuria.
Complications of benign prostate enlargement
• A urinary tract infection (UTI)
• Acute urinary retention
Acute urinary retention (AUR) is the sudden inability to pass any urine.
Symptoms of AUR include:
• Suddenly not being able to pee at all
• Severe lower tummy pain
• Swelling of the bladder that you can feel with your hands
Prevention of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
According to orthodox medicine, you cannot prevent the prostate from enlarging, you can take measures to reduce your symptoms:
Limit your intake of liquids in the evening, especially drinks containing alcohol and caffeine. Cutting back helps to minimize the number of times you have to urinate during the night. (Also, drinking too much alcohol may irritate the bladder or prostate.
Take every opportunity to use the bathroom and allow yourself enough time to empty your bladder completely.
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