[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a disease that affects the prostate, a gland present in men’s bodies, causing it to become enlarged. It is a non-cancerous condition and does not constitute a risk to patients’ lives, but it can be inconvenient and uncomfortable. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost every man ends up developing BPH, but it is more common among men older than 40 years old with a family history of BPH; men with medical conditions such as obesity, heart and circulatory disease, and type 2 diabetes; who don’t exercise; or who have erectile dysfunction.
During a man’s lifetime, the prostate has two periods of significant growth, the first one being during puberty and the second around the age of 25, which continues during most of the man’s life. The walnut-sized gland, which is responsible for the production of fluid that mixes with semen, has two lobes, is part of the male reproductive system, and is located near the bladder and rectum, surrounding the urethra. From the second growth phase, the prostate starts to grow and when it becomes too enlarged, it can press the urethra, weakening the bladder and causing discomfort.
Most Common Symptoms of BPH
The symptoms of BPH do not manifest themselves equally in all people, and some patients may experience it very later in life or not experience them at all. These include abnormal urinary frequency, which is the equivalent to urinating eight or more times a day; urinary urgency or the inability to delay urination; urinary hesitancy, which consists of difficulties in starting a urine stream; interrupted or weak urine stream; dribbling at the end of urination, which means loss of small amounts of urine due to a poor urinary stream; and nocturia, which is the name given to frequent urination during periods of sleep.
In addition, patients may also experience a feeling of persistent residual urine, need strain or push to initiate and maintain urination, decreased force of stream, urinary retention, urinary incontinence or accidental loss of urine, pain after ejaculation or during urination, unusual color of smell of urine. These BPH symptoms are related to either a blocked urethra, a bladder that is overworked from trying to pass urine through the blockage, or both.
When Do Symptoms of BPH Occur
BPH is a progressive disease, which means that if not treated it will continue to worsen with time. However, it is very different depending on the patient and despite the fact that almost every man suffers from it, the majority of them do not experience any symptoms. “The size of the prostate does not always determine the severity of the blockage or symptoms. Some men with greatly enlarged prostates have little blockage and few symptoms, while other men who have minimally enlarged prostates have greater blockage and more symptoms. Less than half of all men with benign prostatic hyperplasia have lower urinary tract symptoms,” explains the NIH. While men may live a lifetime with BPH and do not know about it or suffer from it, the occurrence of symptoms is more likely as patients get older.
After turning 40 years old, men are recommended to undergo a digital rectum test as part of routine medical examination, which is why BPH usually doesn’t remain undiagnosed. In the case of complete inability to urinate, painful, frequent, and urgent need to urinate, fever and chills, blood in the urine, or great discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen and urinary tract, it is important for men to seek immediate medical care, since untreated BPH may cause more severe complications like acute, chronic or long lasting urinary retention, urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder damage, kidney damage, or bladder stones In addition, the symptoms of an enlarged prostate may be indicators of other bladder problems like urinary tract infections, prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or even prostate cancer.
Note: BPH News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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