What you need to know about benign prostate hyperplasia…
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition characterized by an enlarged prostate gland. The urethra is a tube that allows the passage of urine out of your body. The urethra is surrounded by the prostate gland. As your prostate grows bigger, it tends to prevent the urethra from passing urine.
A benign prostate is not cancerous and is less serious than prostate cancer. BPH is common among men who are older than 75 years. In this article, we will review some of the causes of BPH, the common signs and symptoms, and the treatment options available to you.
Causes of BPH
It is still not clear what causes BPH. One possibility is that older men respond well to the hormone testosterone, which promotes growth and can result in an enlarged prostate. Another possibility is that the changing levels of testosterone and estrogen may cause the growth.
Other common causes are:
While the risk of BPH is high among men aged above 70, men who are above the age of 40 may also experience this condition. Some of the factors that may cause one to develop BPH during their advanced age include changing hormone levels and damage to blood vessels associated with the prostate and other surrounding organs. When prostate cells do not have sufficient blood, they may grow larger.
Like many serious health conditions, BPH can be associated with genetics. If your male relatives have BPH, you have a higher risk of catching the disease. This is true especially if your relatives developed the symptoms before age 60.
High DHT Levels
DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone. This substance is produced when testosterone is converted by an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase. Your prostate grows when it is directed by testosterone, which is produced in your testes. This is the reason why boys whose testicles are removed during puberty do not develop BPH.
Testosterone needs to be converted by the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme into DHT. It is the DHT that stimulates the growth of prostate cells. Experts believe that as a man ages, even though their testosterone levels are on the decline, the accumulation of DHT may contribute to the development of BPH.
Failing to exercise raises your risk of getting BPH because exercising helps prevent obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and many other health conditions linked to BPH. A poor diet may also contribute to getting BPH. Studies have shown that a diet rich in vegetables and low in fat can reduce one’s risk of catching BPH.
Common Signs and Symptoms of BPH
When your prostate enlarges, it prevents urine flow. The most common signs of BPH are:
- Hesitancy. You will experience difficulty triggering the urinary stream.
- Straining. The urge to push or strain to trigger and maintain urination until you fully empty your bladder.
- Nocturia. The need to wake up frequently during the night to urinate.
- Incomplete bladder emptying. You will feel like there is residual urine no matter how often you urinate.
- Urinary frequency and urgency. The urgent and frequent need to urinate.
Treatment Options For BPH
If you are diagnosed with BPH, there are a few treatment options that your doctor will suggest. These include:
- Medication. This is the most common treatment option for relieving the symptoms of BPH for mild and moderate cases. Your doctor will prescribe alpha-blockers to help relax your prostate muscles and make it easier to urinate. Your practitioner may also prescribe alpha reductase inhibitors to slow the enlargement of your prostate and possibly shrink the prostate significantly.
- Non-surgical options. In severe cases, your doctor could suggest non-surgical treatment. Some of the non-surgical options available are laser treatment and transurethral needle ablation. Laser treatment is a procedure where the doctor penetrates to the urethra using a scope and then passes a laser through this scope to shrink or remove the prostate gland. The transurethral needle ablation procedure involves low-level radiation that shrinks or removes the prostate
- Surgery. This option is very rare in treating BPH. However, for patients with severe BPH, this may be the only viable option
A Final Overview of BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition where one has an enlarged prostate. This ailment is a non-cancerous condition mostly associated with age. The primary symptom that people with BPH are likely to experience is a difficulty or problem with urination. The common treatment for BPH is medication for suppressing the symptoms. However, non-surgical and surgical treatments may be applied in severe cases.
If you have additional questions about BPH, meet with an experienced urologist. Located in Montebello, California, the Alarcon Urology Center specializes in diagnosing and treating BPH and other prostate issues. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our skilled urologists.