[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as prostate enlargement, swollen prostate, or prostatic hypertrophy, is a disease that affects men. The disease, which affects the great majority of men with functioning testicles, makes the prostate grow abnormally, which can provoke problems in the urinary system due to the location of the gland. Despite the fact that it may be unnoticeable for long periods of time, patients should seek a doctor to avoid further complications.

The prostate is a gland which is normally about the size and shape of a walnut and is part of the male reproductive system. The gland is responsible for the production of a fluid that joins semen during ejaculation. It is located near the bladder and rectum, surrounding the urethra, which is the tube that expels urine and semen from the body. As the prostate enlarges, the gland presses against and pinches the urethra, making the walls of the bladder thicker and causing urinary problems.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Pathophysiological Characterization

The reasons for the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia are not fully understood, but it is known that prostatic enlargement is related to the potent androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The type II 5-alpha-reductase present in the prostate metabolizes, circulating testosterone turning into DHT locally, but not systemically. Over time, DHT connects to androgen receptors in the cell nuclei, and may result in benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The microscopic characterization of the disease resembles a hyperplastic process, which is a process that results in enlargement of the prostate and consequently in a restriction of the normal flow of urine from the bladder and through the urethra. Higher levels of testosterone are known to play an important role in the severity of the disease and the only men who are not at risk of suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia are the ones who had their testicles removed while still young, due to cancer or any other disease.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Epidemiological Characterization

BPH is a very common problem among men and the National Institutes Health (NIH) even state that almost every man ends up developing it if they live long enough. “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.”

Worldwide, the prevalence of benign prostatic hyperplasia rises to about 30 million men who experience the symptoms. However, the number may be higher since a large amount of men have the disease without symptoms. Despite the fact that the prevalence of benign prostatic hyperplasia in white and African-American is similar, it is usually more severe and progressive among African-Americans. This may be explained by higher levels of testosterone, 5-alpha-reductase activity, and androgen receptor expression, as well as growth factor activity in this population that leads to an increased rate of prostatic hyperplasia and enlargement.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Physical Characterization

The main symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia include urinary frequency, the equivalent to urinating eight or more times a day; urinary urgency, which is the inability to delay urination, trouble starting a urine stream; a weak or an interrupted urine stream, dribbling at the end of urination; frequent urination during periods of sleep, a symptom known as nocturia; urinary retention; urinary incontinence, which is the accidental loss of urine; pain after ejaculation or during urination; and urine that has an unusual color or smell.

These symptoms are usually related to a blocked urethra and / or a bladder that is overworked from trying to pass urine through the blockage. However, the NIH adds that “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.”

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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