What you need to know about an enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is when a prostate gland is enlarged. It is common in men, especially as they age.
The prostate gland is found only in men and is located underneath the bladder. Urine is transported from the bladder out of the penis through the urethra, which is a tube that goes through the center of the prostate. When the prostate enlarges, it can start to block the flow of urine through the urethra.
The prostate undergoes two main periods of growth in a man’s life. The first period of growth is early in puberty, and the second period starts at about 25 years old, the prostate continues to grow throughout most of the man’s life. Continued prostate growth is normal as you age, but in some men, this continued growth can lead to urinary symptoms or can significantly block the flow of urine especially during this second period of prostate growth.
It is important to note that the size of the prostate doesn’t necessarily determine the severity of a man’s symptoms of BPH. For example, someone with a very enlarged prostate may experience minor symptoms, whereas someone with a slightly enlarged prostate may have substantial urinary symptoms. It is also important to note that BPH—or an enlarged prostate— is not cancerous: it is benign and does not cause or lead to cancer.
BPH is very common in aging men. You are more likely to have BPH if you are a man that:
- Is over 40 years old (risk increases with age)
- Has a family history of BPH,
- Has diabetes,
- Has heart disease,
- Is obese or does not exercise regularly,
- Is Black or White, or
- Has erectile dysfunction.
Symptoms of BPH
BPH, or an enlarged prostate, can cause several urinary problems.
Most commonly, men with BPH have to urinate frequently, often 8 or more times a day) and often experience an urgent need to urinate. Men with BPH also commonly wake up several times a night to pee. Difficulty starting to urinate, a weak urine stream, a urine stream that stops and starts, dribbling when you finish peeing, and an inability to completely empty the bladder are also common symptoms of BPH.
Although less common, urinary tract infections (UTIs), an inability to urinate, or blood in the urine can also be signs of BPH.
An enlarged prostate can result in complications
Although they are rare, complications can arise from an enlarged prostate. Complications can include urinary retention (a sudden inability to urinate), UTIs, bladder stones, bladder damage, and kidney damage. Most men will not experience these complications, but men with BPH should be aware that urinary retention and kidney damage can be serious health threats that may require medical care.
What should you do if you suspect you have an enlarged prostate?
Prostate growth is normal, but urinary problems are not normal. Enlarged prostates are diagnosed by seeing a urologist. A urologist can help determine which treatments, if any, may be necessary for you. If you have any of the urinary symptoms discussed here or suspect that you may have an enlarged prostate, contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best urologist doctor in NYC.