Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Summer 2003 CSANews Issue 47  |  Posted date : Apr 20, 2007.Back to list

Discussing problems with the prostate gland tend to make men uncomfortable; many doctors attribute this to the fact that it has a role in both sex and urination. Not all of the functions of this small round lump of tissue found behind the base of the penis are known, but one of its main roles is to add fluid to sperm as it goes to the urethra.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH, also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy) is an enlargement of the prostate gland believed to be caused by changing hormones when men get older. It is common in men over 40 and more than half of men over 60 have it to some degree. Symptoms include frequent urination, trouble starting and stopping urine flow and an inability to empty the bladder.

It is important to note that although they have similar symptoms, BPH is NOT a form of cancer.

There are many ways to diagnose this condition, including a digital rectal exam, a rectal ultrasound, or a PSA test. While until recently treatment was limited to surgery, scientists have developed medication that relaxes the muscles around the prostate or shrinks the prostate itself; for severe cases surgery may still be advised.

If you show any of the symptoms, it is important that you visit your doctor in order to rule out prostate cancer and to get treatment in the early stages. Left untreated, it can cause complications such as bladder infections, kidney damage or incontinence.