[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy or benign prostatic obstruction, is a men’s disease characterized by the enlargement of the prostate gland.

“The prostate goes through two main growth periods as a man ages. The first occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase of growth begins around age 25 and continues during most of a man’s life. Benign prostatic hyperplasia often occurs with the second growth phase,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The prostate is shaped like a walnut, located near the rectum and bladder, and surrounding the urethra. It is an important part of the male reproductive system because it is responsible for the production of a fluid that joins semen and is expelled during ejaculation. Due to its location, the enlargement affects the urinary system also. As the prostate enlarges, the gland presses against and pinches the urethra, resulting in thickening of the bladder wall and weakening of the organ.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Causes

According to the NIH, the benign prostatic hyperplasia causes are not fully understood, but a hormonal influence has been theorized. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is thought to be a normal part of men’s aging process. The enlargement of the prostate is related to alterations in hormone balance that occur throughout men’s lives and cell-growth factors, while it is known that genetics are also important in the process. “The cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia is not well understood; however, it occurs mainly in older men. Benign prostatic hyperplasia does not develop in men whose testicles were removed before puberty. For this reason, some researchers believe factors related to aging and the testicles may cause benign prostatic hyperplasia,” states in the NIH.

Testosterone is a male hormone produced during men’s lifetime, while men also produce small amount of the female hormone known as estrogen. With aging, the amounts of active testosterone decrease in the blood, leaving space for higher amounts of estrogen. Therefore, some of the studies relate the disease to the unbalance between estrogen and testosterone created, which results in higher activity of substances that promote prostate cell growth. In addition, a correlation between benign prostatic hyperplasia and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone that plays a role in prostate development and growth, is also thought to exist. Men continue to produce DHT despite the drop in testosterone, and it accumulates in the prostate, encouraging the growth of prostate cells.

Factors that Impact the Development of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

“Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the most common prostate problem for men older than age 50. In 2010, as many as 14 million men in the United States had lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Although benign prostatic hyperplasia rarely causes symptoms before age 40, the occurrence and symptoms increase with age. Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects about 50 percent of men between the ages of 51 and 60 and up to 90 percent of men older than 80,” explain the NIH. While almost every man suffers from it, there are factors that impact its development or severity.

Age is an important factor, and the disease tends to be more severe in patients older than 70. In fact, it is thought that almost every man suffers from benign prostatic hyperplasia if they live long enough. Family history of benign prostatic hyperplasia is also important due to genetics, and this correlation has been identified through the analysis of younger men who need surgery to treat it. Medical conditions such as obesity, heart and circulatory disease, type 2 diabetes, and erectile dysfunction, as well as lack of physical exercise also increase the risk. While the prevalence of benign prostatic hyperplasia is similar among Americans and African-Americans, it tends to be more severe among the latter, which may be related to higher levels of testosterone.

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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