What is Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that causes Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to enlarge the prostate. This occurs in in nearly all men as a result of aging, though genetics will determine if the prostate’s growth becomes a problem.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and Benign Prostate Hyperplasia
Dihydrotestosterone is a male sex hormone that plays many important roles in both the male and female physiology. One of DHT’s responsibilities is to act as a growth hormone, and as such, it is largely responsible for regulating muscle mass, bone density, and, in men, triggering the prostate to grow.
As good as DHT is at stimulating growth, it unfortunately has no way to turn itself “off”. This means a male’s prostate never can never stop growing over the years. While is not a problem for most males, others can have experience complications from an enlarged prostate that range from mild to extreme.
What are some Problems that can arise from Benign Prostate Hyperplasia?
It is important to note that BPH itself is not necessarily a harmful condition, hence the word “benign” in the phrase. For some males, however, the prostate continues to grow too large, and can cause the following complications:
- Difficulty urinating – The prostate is a gland located near the bladder, specifically underneath the tube which passes urine waste. If the prostate gland becomes too swollen, it can press against this tube, which can partially, or, in extreme cases, fully prevent the proper flow of urine.
- A prolonged buildup of unreleased urine can cause:
- Damage in the kidneys and bladder.
- The formation of bladder stones.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
What are the Symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia?
BPH may be a problem if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- An inability to start or stop the flow of urine.
- A low-pressure urine stream.
- The frequent urge to void your bladder.
- Feeling as though your bladder never feels empty, even after repeatedly urinating.
How can a Doctor Diagnose Benign Prostate Hyperplasia?
Your doctor will ask questions about your ability to urinate that will help determine the condition of your prostate. Your doctor may also digitally examine the prostate itself or run tests on your urine. The doctor may also test for an antigen made by the prostate to rule out prostate cancer, which BPH can sometimes mimic.
What Are Treatments for Benign Prostate Hyperplasia?
Many can control the severity of their symptoms through medicine. Common brands include:
- Proscar (Finasteride)
- Avodart (Dutasteride)
The symptoms will become severe again if medication is discontinued. In extreme cases, the doctor may perform surgery to reduce the prostate gland to a more manageable size.
What are some ways to Prevent Benign Prostate Hyperplasia?
You may be able to reduce your chances of BPH if you:
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine due to their proclivity to cause dehydration and excessive urination.
- Avoid allergy medications and nasal decongestants because they may make urination more difficult.
- Urinate once, wait for a few moments, and then urinate again.
What are some Common Benign Prostate Hyperplasia Misconceptions?
- Contrary to popular belief, BPH is not due to a cancerous activity, nor is it a sign of cancerous activity to come.
- BPH does not impact a male’s fertility whatsoever, nor is it more common with low fertility males.