Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a noncancerous (benign) enlargement of the prostate gland that can make urination difficult.
The prostate gland enlarges as men age.
Men may have difficulty urinating and feel the need to urinate more often and more urgently.
Usually, the diagnosis is based on results of a rectal examination, but a blood sample may be taken to check for prostate cancer.
If needed, drugs to relax the muscles of the prostate and bladder (such as terazosin) or to shrink the prostate (such as finasteride) are used, but sometimes surgery is necessary.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) becomes increasingly common as men age, especially after age 50. The precise cause is not known but probably involves changes caused by hormones, including testosterone and especially dihydrotestosterone (a hormone related to testosterone).
As the prostate enlarges, it gradually compresses the urethra and blocks the flow of urine (urinary obstruction). When men with BPH urinate, the bladder may not empty completely. Consequently, urine stagnates in the bladder, making men susceptible to urinary tract infections and bladder stones. Prolonged obstruction can weaken the bladder and ultimately damage the kidneys.
Drugs such as over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal decongestants can increase resistance to the flow of urine or reduce the bladder’s ability to contract, causing temporary blockage of urine flow out of the bladder in men with BPH.