Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
THE BAD NEWS
If you live long enough, you are almost guaranteed to get Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH). In fact, 9 out of every 10 people over the age of 85 have BPH.
THE GOOD NEWS
Symptoms of BPH often do not need treatment and are frequently reduced by improving your overall health. When these symptoms do require treatment, there are many medical and surgical treatment options available. Read on to understand the disease, its causes, and its treatments as well as the benefits of improving your diet and exercise routine. (See Nutrition and Exercise)
What Is BPH?
BPH is basically an enlargement of the prostate gland, the gland that sits below the bladder around the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body. This enlargement is a natural part of the aging process in men.
What Causes BPH?
The cells that make up the prostate continue to multiply throughout life causing the prostate to grow in size. This growth also depends on testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, which is produced from testosterone in the prostate.
When Is BPH a Problem?
Problems arise if and when the prostate gland becomes large enough to block the flow of urine out of the bladder through the urethra. Basically, it acts like a plug on a hose. This causes symptoms known as Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) or Prostatism. These symptoms can include having to pee urgently, having to pee too often, not being able pee even though you need to, peeing in your sleep, and still needing to pee even though you’re done. Even worse, it can lead to infections, stones, and bladder or kidney injury. LUTS are also a risk factor for erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction, so go do something about it!
What Can You Do About It?
First and foremost, you can improve your health. The exact cause isn’t known, but improved diet and exercise has been shown to decrease the size and rate of growth of the prostate. (See Nutrition and Exercise). Moderate alcohol consumption, 1-2 drinks per day, has been shown to do the same thing. If that does not work, different types of medications are available to help shrink the prostate. Surgery is a last resort and usually is not needed. If surgery is needed, there are several different types available.
EMG Health Homepage: Men’s Health Introduction
External Resources: NKUDIC: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia