Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical term for an enlarged prostate gland. It is a common condition in men, especially ages 50 and older. The prostate gland is located below the bladder and produces semen. As men age, the prostate grows larger, and may press on the urethra, like a clamp on a hose, constricting the flow of urine. Some symptoms of BPH are similar to other conditions, including urinary infections and prostate cancer. However, BPH is far more common than prostate cancer.
Common symptoms of BPH include:
Some of the symptoms of BPH are similar to other conditions, including urinary infections and prostate cancer. If symptomatic, it is important to have a medical evaluation. In many cases a digital rectal exam can detect BPH, as well as blood and urine tests, and ultrasound exams.
Whether or not treatment for BPH is needed depends on the symptoms and severity. Treatment may not be needed if the symptoms are mild and do not worsen. Medications or surgical treatments may be recommended for moderate to severe symptoms.
If BPH completely blocks the urethra, inability to urinate may result. This is a serious condition that can permanently damage the kidneys or bladder. If this comes on suddenly immediate medical attention is necessary.
Lifestyle changes that can help relieve BPH symptoms include avoiding alcohol and caffeine, avoiding or limiting drinking fluids in the evening, avoiding taking decongestant and antihistamine medications, getting regular daily exercise, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing constipation.
Please review the PCHC Health Promotion Activity Plan (HPAP) for BPH which can be a helpful resource.