BPH stands for benign prostatic hyperplasia and is also known as enlarged prostate. Simply put, it is a condition in which the prostate enlarges and can inhibit the normal urine flow in men. The prostate is a gland just beneath the bladder that goes around the urethra, the tube that transports urine from the bladder and out the penis. When the prostate enlarges it squeezes the urethra causing many bothersome symptoms. Think of it like pinching a hose while the water is running. This makes it harder for the bladder to drain which can leave you feeling like your bladder is not empty after urinating, a weak stream, and more.
BPH is extremely common and in fact Approximately 32 million men worldwide experience moderate to severe symptoms of enlarged prostate or BPH. 90% of men between 45 and 80 years of age will suffer from some type of lower urinary tract symptoms. By age 60, half of all men have BPH symptoms.1,2 It is important to know that BPH is not at all related to prostate cancer and is not life threatening, yet these symptoms can be quite bothersome. While these symptoms might seem like something that you can “deal with” it is very important to visit a urologist for a consultation as soon as possible. The severity of these symptoms does not necessarily correlate with the severity of the enlargement of the prostate. In fact, many men who have serious enlargement of the prostate may only have mild symptoms and vice versa. That means that it is advisable for men who experience urinary symptoms to see their urologist early. Visiting a urologist early can eliminate prostate cancer as a possibility but can also help avoid some of the dangers of leaving BPH untreated for an extended time.
BPH while it is not life threatening, it is still a disease that can be very frustrating for men and their loved ones. Many men experience a need to urinate that interrupts their sleep at night or they experience urgency to urinate during the day that keeps them searching for the nearest restroom. These interruptions can be very frustrating when you are trying to enjoy simple things in life, like a round of golf with some friends, a trip to the beach with a loved one, or watching a movie at the theater, or even just a good night’s sleep.
It is important to talk to a urologist if you are experiencing these symptoms to be evaluated and to seek solutions to prevent further complications.
1McVary K: BPH: Epidemiology and Comorbidities. Am J Manag Care 12 2006; 5 Suppl: S122. 2Carter HB. Prostate Disorders: The Johns Hopkins White Papers. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Medicine; 2010:1-24.