Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Symptoms, Causes, & Management

Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is referred to as an increase in the size of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a small organ present just below the urinary bladder. It is present only in males and has a role in the male sexual response. Enlargement of the prostate gland impedes the flow of urine from the urinary bladder. Over the years, the bladder keeps working harder leading to weakness the of bladder muscles. BPH is known to affect 0.1% of the people globally.

Urine flow in Male

Urine which is produced in kidneys gets stored in the urinary bladder. The stored urine from the urinary bladder is let out of the body through a tube called the urethra, and this urethra is surrounded by the prostate gland.

As BPH, causes an increase in the size of the prostate gland, this enlarged prostate will squeeze the urethra causing partial or complete closure of the urethra which leads to difficulty in urine flow from the urinary bladder to outside of the body, This is the main symptom of BPH.

BPH is common in elderly males. It occurs in about one-third of men over 50 years of age. Prostate enlargement is non-cancerous and non-harmful.

Healthy Prostate
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Though the increase in size of the prostate is not harmful in itself but it has several other effects.

  • Urgent need to urinate is felt
  • Difficulty in postponing urination (urinary incontinence)
  • Despite the urgency to urinate, the urine takes longer to come out
  • Leakage may occur at the end of urination
  • Irritation during urination
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) as urine stays longer in the bladder
  • Urinary bladder stones and pain
  • Nocturia-patient wakes many times in the night to urinate
  • Stream of the urine flow is weaker than usual

Causes of BPH

  • BPH is caused by changes in the hormones
  • BPH may occur because of the high amount of the estrogen within the gland. Estrogen hormone promotes growth in the prostate gland.
  • Lifestyle conditions like unhealthy eating and physical inactivity
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Inflammation of Prostate (Prostatitis)
  • Prostate Stricture ( Narrowing of the Urethra)
  • Genetics or family history

Risk Factors

There are certain condition which may increase the chance of BPH.The main risk factors for BPH include:

  • Aging: BPH is common in elderly males. It occurs in about one-third of men over 50 years of age.
  • Family history: Any person who has a family history of prostate enlargement are more prone to BPH.
  • Genetics: BPH is more common in American and Australian men. It’s less common in Chinese, Indian and Japanese men
  • Lifestyle: Your lifestyle also plays a role in BPH. An obese person is more prone to Benign prostatic hyperplasia. Whereas exercise reduces the risk.
  • Diabetes or Heart Diseases: It has found that person having diabetes or heart diseases and they use Beta Blocker, may have a risk of BPH.


Many people means men who have BPH from longer period of time and they avoid to consult Dr. may have greater chances of complications. Men who have history of BPH may develop the following complications:

  • Acute urinary retention- It is a sudden, painful inability to urinate. A doctor’s help is needed for this condition.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder damage
  • Kidney damage

Prevention & Management of BPH

  • Avoid straining when having a bowel movement as this exerts extra pressure on the bladder
  • Avoid excess water or caffeinated drinks before going to bed as it may disturb your sleep
  • Inactivity causes urinary retention. Even a small amount of exercise can help to reduce urinary problems associated with an enlarged prostate.


  • Medicines
    • Alpha blockers: They relax the muscles of urethra (tube through which urine is expelled out) and prostate to facilitate the urine flow. Some examples are alfuzocin, tamsulosin.
    • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors: They help in decreasing the size of the enlarged prostate gland e.g. finasteride and dutasteride.
  • Surgery – The aim of the surgery is to remove only the enlarged tissue that is causing obstruction to the urine flow, with the rest of the tissue left intact. Various surgical methods are used to treat BPH include open surgery, transurethral resection of the prostate and laser surgery

Points to Remember

  • During BPH, avoid taking decongestants or anti-histamine medications
  • Avoid taking alcohol or other liquids, especially tea and coffee at bedtime to reduce urge for the urination and worsening of the symptoms at night.

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