The prostate is a gland found under the bladder within the male pelvis.
The prostate gland is located in front of the rectum surrounding the urethra, the route of transportation of urine from the bladder. When healthy, the prostate gland is about the size of a walnut. Its function is the secretion of fluid to nourish sperm cells.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous medical condition affecting the prostate gland.
Enlarged Prostate, or BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is simply an enlarged prostate gland. As a man ages, his prostate will go through two phases of growth. The first phase occurs during puberty, and the prostate will double in size during this time. The second growth phase begins in the mid-twenties, continuing during his adult life. Your prostate gland may grow larger as you grow older. BPH tends to develop during the second phase of growth.
When your prostate gland grows larger, it may put pressure on your urethra. The wall of your bladder may also become thicker. At some point, your bladder may weaken to the point that it is unable to empty completely. BPH is not a cancerous condition and will not cause or lead to cancer. However, cancer and BPH can occur simultaneously.
The severity of BPH symptoms in men may vary, but they often grow worse with time. Some BPH symptoms are an increase in urination frequency or a strong urge to urinate. Other symptoms include difficulty urinating or a weak urine stream.
It is not entirely understood what causes benign prostatic hyperplasia, but it is known to occur mostly among older men. Since BPH is not found among men with testicles removed prior to puberty, scientist believe that the aging process and related factors may cause the condition.
Treatment for BPH
Alpha blockers are sometimes used in cases of BPH to relax prostate and bladder muscles. They are able to reduce blockage and enhance the flow of urine. They cannot shrink the prostate to its normal size.
If you are not experiencing significant symptoms, keeping an eye on the condition may be best. Look for frequency of urination, weak urine flow, and urine leakage.
- 5-Alpha Reducatase Inhibitors: 5-Alpha Reducatase Inhibitors are substances that inhibit the production of a male hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This hormone has been implicated in prostate growth. 5-Alpha reductase inhibitors are able to shrink the prostate and improve urine flow.
- Combination Therapy: Combination therapy utilizes both 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and alpha blockers. Studies have found that this combination of medicines lead to a better reduction of symptoms, improvement in urine flow, and quality of life.
- Surgery for BPH: Prostate tissue can be removed through surgical procedures. BPH surgery will likely be recommended if you cannot urinate, have a urinary tract infection, suffer from kidney damage, are bleeding, or have bladder stones.