Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland due to increases in the number of cells of the prostate tissue. Although the enlarging effects of BHP cannot be reversed, it is nonmalignant (non-cancerous), and does not always progress to a cancerous state. In fact, about 80% of men will experience some degree of BPH by the age of 80.1 Enlargement visit- typically starts around 40 to 45 years of age and continues throughout life. Men who are diagnosed with BHP are encouraged to go in for regular screenings (once a year) to monitor the growth of the prostate gland; nevertheless, many men will go years with out experiencing any symptoms.


When the prostate becomes enlarged it presses down on the urethra and causes urinary dysfunction. Depending on the degree of enlargement, men may experience any of the following symptoms:


Screening and diagnostic procedures for BPH are similar to those used for Prostate Cancer.

  • Weak urinary stream
  • Prolonged emptying of the bladder
  • Abdominal straining
  • Hesitancy
  • Irregular need to urinate
  • incomplete bladder emptying
  • Post-urination dribble
  • Irritation during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Nocturia- need to urinate during the night
  • Urgency
  • Incontinence-involuntary leakage of urine.
  • Bladder pain
  • Dysuria- painful urination


As mentioned previously, BPH cannot be reversed, however there are medications available that help to relax the muscles of the bladder and prostate to ease urination. If medication treatments fail, more invasive procedures, such as transurethral resection, are used to relieve symptoms. Transurethral resection is the most common surgical procedure used to treat BPH and involves removal of part of the prostate through the urethra. This reduces the pressure on the urethra and normalizes urination. More recent technologies have been developed which use lasers and microwave thermotherapy (see p. 20). to vaporize or remove excess prostatic tissue, which accomplishes the same result as transurethral resection.

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