Enlarged prostate or prostate gland enlargement also known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is a common disease condition found in men (mostly in older men). Unlike prostate cancer (PC), BPH is non-cancerous and it affects the prostate. The prostate is an organ found in men, walnut in shape and lies below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate is a vital organ responsible in the production and storage of the seminal fluid.

In men, the bladder houses the urine and from it, urine is voided as it passes through the urethra. When BPH set in the enlarged prostate impresses on the urethra thereby blocking the flow of urine as a result of the pressure coming from the enlarged prostate, this causes the narrowing of the urethral canal. As the enlargement keep increasing, the urethra keep narrowing thereby causing the bladder to contract more as it forces its way in voiding the urine content.

Overtime, the bladder walls or muscles become sensitive, thicker and stronger as a result of the contraction. The individual’s bladder begins to contract unnecessarily even when there is small amount of urine in it thereby inducing the urge to urinate frequently. Regardless of the frequent urge to urinate, the bladder still may not void out its whole content because of the narrowing of the urethra. This is why the most common sign of enlarged prostate is usually an incessant urge to urinate especially as night. Because the bladder is sensitive and keep retaining small amounts of urine, the individual will keep having the urge to urinate.

Causes of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia
Researchers are still trying to find out what exactly could be the cause of benign prostate hyperplasia as the major cause is unclear. However, many believe that the cause could be pointed to changes in the sex hormones of men as they become older in age. Some risk factors that can result to BPH include:
    Age: as men become older, the chances of them getting down with enlarged prostate increases whereas younger men below 40 years rarely have BPH
    Hereditary: there are higher chances of men whose family tree shows history of enlarged prostate. The younger generation has 60% chance of having enlarged prostate.
    Obesity: the lifestyle of people can contribute much on whether they come down with enlarged prostate or not. Men who exercise daily are less prone to having BPH whereas obese men have higher rate of it.

Symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia
The signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
    Frequent urination or urge to urinate
    Nocturia- frequent urination at night
    Difficulty in beginning urination
    Weak stream urine
    Breaking and continuing urine stream
    Straining to urinate
    Continued dribbling of urine
    A feeling of incomplete emptying of bladder
    Most rarely blood in urine

    Digital rectal examination (DRE):  the physician examines the prostate by inserting his finger into the rectum
    Blood test: a kidney function test and a prostate specific antigen blood test on the high side can help in its diagnosis.
    Transrectal ultrasound: in complex cases, a transrectal ultrasound can be done wherein a probe is inserted into the rectum to check and evaluate the prostate

The treatment of BPH is dependent on the underlying cause and the presenting signs and symptoms. The treatment course involves:
    The use of medications or drugs such as alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors
    Surgical approaches

Note: the size of the enlarged prostate is not a direct estimation of the severity of the condition. One can have a small enlarged prostate but the complication can be severe than one with a big enlargement.
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What are the Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate