[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Prostate hypertrophy, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate are different names for a condition that affects the prostate. In men who suffer from prostate hypertrophy, the prostate is abnormally enlarged, which interferes with the normal function of the urinary and reproductive systems. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost all men ends up developing prostate hypertrophy if they live long enough. However, it is non-cancerous and does threatens patients’ lives.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland with two lobes, located below the bladder, about halfway between the rectum and the base of the penis. The prostate also surrounds the urethra and the function of the gland is to produce a fluid that is expelled with semen through the urethra during ejaculation. Due to the location of the prostate around the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body, as the gland becomes enlarged, the urethra may become squeezed or partly blocked.

Prostatic Hypertrophy’s Development and Causes

“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,” as explained by the NIH. Despite the fact that the causes for the development of prostatic hypertrophy are not completely disclosed, it is known to be related to alterations in hormone balance and cell growth.

Almost all men suffer from prostatic hypertrophy and there are no risk factors associated with it. The only exception is having functioning testicles. Men whose testicles were removed while young due to cancer or any other condition do not suffer from prostatic hypertrophy, while in men whose testicles were removed while already with BPH, the size of the prostate may reduce on its own. Prostatic hypertrophy can be inconvenient and cause problems urinating, but it is not a severe disease.

Prostatic Hypertrophy Symptoms and Diagnosis

The enlargement of the prostate characteristic of prostatic hypertrophy results in obstruction of the urethra and consequently affects the urine flow. Patients may experience symptoms like urinary abnormal frequency, urinary urgency, difficulty initiating the urinary stream (hesitancy), interrupted or weak urine stream, incomplete bladder emptying, feeling of persistent residual urine, need strain or push to initiate and maintain urination, decreased force of stream, and loss of small amounts of urine due to a poor urinary stream (dribbling).

When patients experience these symptoms, physicians often analyze the familiar and medical history, and request a complete physical examination and medical tests to confirm the diagnosis. The complete physical examination include examination of the patient’s body to check for discharge from the urethra, enlarged or tender lymph nodes in the groin, a swollen or tender scrotum, as well as taping on specific areas of the patient’s body, and performing a digital rectal exam, a routine physical exam for men age 40 or older during which the physician insert a lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate. Additional medical tests requested are urinalysis, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, urodynamic tests, cystoscopy, transrectal ultrasound, and a biopsy.

Prostatic Hypertrophy’s Treatment and Prognosis

The treatment of prostatic hyperplasia is determined by taking into consideration the age of the patient, as well as the severity and symptoms of the disease. Lifestyle changes, medications, minimally invasive procedures, surgery, or a combination of treatments are the therapeutic options for prostatic hypertrophy. Lifestyle alterations are meant for patients whose symptoms are mild or slightly bothersome, and include reducing intake of liquids, avoiding or reducing intake of caffeinated beverages and alcohol,avoiding or monitoring the use of medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, and diuretics, training the bladder to hold more urine for longer periods, exercising pelvic floor muscles, and preventing or treating constipation.

Prostatic hypertrophy treatment with medication may range from alpha blockers, which relax the smooth muscles of the prostate and bladder neck to improve urine flow and reduce bladder blockage, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, which are mainly used for erectile dysfunction, to 5-alpha reductase inhibitors to block the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which accumulates in the prostate and may cause prostate growth.In the case of minimally invasive procedures to relieve the symptoms when medications are not effective, the options are transurethral needle ablation, transurethral microwave thermotherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound, transurethral electrovaporization, water-induced thermotherapy and prostatic stent insertion.

In addition, there is also the possibility of surgery. The most common type is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), during which the interior of the prostate is removed, but patients may also be submitted to laser surgery, open prostatectomy or transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP). While men may leave for years without knowing they suffer from prostatic hypertrophy, in severe cases, it may result in acute urinary retention, chronic, or long lasting, urinary retention, blood in the urine, urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder damage, kidney damage, or bladder stones.

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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