Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
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What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (also called BPH) is a condition that affects the prostate gland in men. The prostate is a gland found between the bladder and the urethra, and as a man ages, the prostate gland slowly grows bigger and enlarges. The term "benign" means that the enlargement isn''t caused by cancer or infection.
The term "hyperplasia" means enlargement. Due to the position of the prostate, as it gets bigger it may put increasing pressure on the urethra. This may then cause a variety of problems in the urinary system, most of all causing the flow of urine to be slower and less forceful.
Gradually, in most cases, the symptoms of BPH start with the need to get up more often at night to urinate or the need to empty the bladder often during the day. A man may find he has difficulty in starting the urine flow, dribbling after urination ends, and the size and strength of the urine stream also decreases.
It is important to remember that urinary symptoms may be signs of more serious diseases, such as a bladder infection, urinary tract infection or bladder cancer. If you are concerned, it is always best to seek medical advice and a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
It is important that your doctor take a complete history of your symptoms. The next step will consist of a rectal exam, where your doctor checks your prostate by putting a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to feel the back of your prostate gland. Although this may sound rather alarming, it is only mildly discomforting and only takes a few minutes.
This exam allows your doctor to feel the size of the prostate gland. To make sure that your prostate problem is benign; your doctor may need to look at a sample of your urine for signs of infection. Your doctor may also order a blood test. An ultrasound exam or a biopsy of the prostate may also be performed to help your doctor make a proper diagnosis.
What Causes Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
The enlargement of the prostate is an inevitable byproduct of aging. Increased growth of prostate cells usually takes place after age 40. As the prostate grows around the urethra, it may eventually start to squeeze the urethra, which can cause the bladder to contract, even when it is almost empty and when this happens, you urinate frequently and may also experience a weak urine flow.
Help for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Once it has been confirmed that the growth and enlargement of the prostate gland is benign, treatment options can be recommended and investigated. Your doctor may also suggest that prior to further action, you wait to see if your symptoms improve. Some milder symptoms tend to improve of their own accord. If your symptoms get worse, your doctor may suggest a treatment option.