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What is BPH? Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Explained

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an issue that affects half of all males aged 50 and older. We'll take a closer look at what is BPH in medical terms.

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), known as prostate gland enlargement, is a highly common disorder affecting men as they age. It is characterized by the non-cancerous growth of the prostate tissue surrounding the urethra. The urethra discharges urine from the bladder and the body.

BPH occurs when prostate cells multiply, leading to an increase in its size. This enlargement can cause the prostate gland to constrict the urethra, resulting in urinary symptoms.

It is not known what causes BPH. It primarily develops in men over the age of 50. Hormone fluctuations are thought to play a role.

It is likely that testicular hormones are a major factor. During aging, testosterone concentration decreases while levels of estrogen remain stable. The disparity could account for the growth of prostate cells.

Additionally, increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) could be responsible. The DHT hormone is a key element in the growth and development of prostate tissue; older men often have elevated levels of DHT.

What are BPH symptoms?

The most common symptoms of BPH include the following:

BPH can also raise the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI).

These symptoms can dramatically affect a person's quality of life if left untreated.

Who is at risk for BPH?

Several issues can raise the risk of developing BPH.

Age is one of the main risk factors for BPH. The prevalence of this condition increases with age, especially in men over the age of 50. By the age of 60, more than half of men will have some degree of prostate enlargement, and by the age of 85, this number increases to 90%.

Family history also plays a role in BPH risk. If a man has a primary relation (like a parent or sibling) with BPH, his chances of developing the condition are higher. This suggests a potential genetic component to BPH.

Race and ethnicity might also influence the risk of BPH. Studies have shown that men of African descent have an elevated risk of developing BPH compared to Caucasian men. Conversely, Asian men have a lower risk. However, more research is needed to fully understand the impact of ethnicity on BPH risk.

Certain health problems and lifestyle factors can also increase BPH risk. Men with obesity struggles, diabetes, heart disease, and a sedentary lifestyle may have a greater likelihood of developing BPH. Hormonal inconsistencies, such as testosterone deficiency or high levels of estrogen, may also contribute to the development of BPH.

It is important to note that while these factors may exacerbate the risk of BPH, they do not necessarily guarantee its development. Many men with one or more risk factors may never experience any symptoms or complications associated with BPH.

Does BPH cause cancer?

BPH is not prostate cancer. While there are numerous non-conclusive studies surrounding the likelihood of developing prostate cancer after a BPH diagnosis, it is unclear if BPH raises prostate cancer risk. However, any changes in prostate health should be evaluated by a specialist.

Though BPH is not predictive of prostate cancer, there are several prostate cancer symptoms that could be mistaken for BPH. These include difficulty urinating and frequent, urgent needs to urinate.

Other prostate changes can include bacterial infection. Prostatitis is a prostate gland inflammation caused by bacteria. An estimated half of all males will experience prostatitis at some point. Like BPH, symptoms include difficulty urinating and the urgent need to urinate. Prostatitis can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

How is BPH diagnosed?

To detect BPH, healthcare professionals may perform a physical exam to evaluate the condition and size of the prostate gland. The exam involves a digital rectal exam and additional tests, such as urine flow studies and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. The PSA tests are conducted to rule out other conditions and evaluate the extent to which BPH has advanced.

How is BPH treated?

Treatment options for BPH vary depending on the intensity of symptoms and the impact on the individual's daily life. There are cases, however, where lifestyle adjustments -- such as minimizing fluids before bedtime and limiting caffeinated and alcoholic beverages -- can help minimize symptoms.

Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is an effective BPH treatment that offers several benefits to patients. This procedure involves blocking off the arteries that supply blood to the prostate, reducing its size and alleviating symptoms such as urinary frequency and urgency.

It is essential for individuals experiencing urinary symptoms to seek an evaluation by a urologist to identify the root cause and receive appropriate treatment. Regular check-ups and screenings are vital for early detection and management of BPH.

Georgia Prostate Institute: Superior Prostate Care in North Georgia

Georgia Prostate Institute boasts state-of-the-art facilities specifically designed to address the needs of patients with BPH. Equipped with innovative diagnostic equipment and cutting-edge technology, the institute ensures accurate and efficient diagnosis, enabling personalized treatment plans for each patient.

We are proud to be staffed with a team of highly skilled and experienced medical professionals with a deep understanding of BPH and its complexities.

If you have concerns about your prostate health, please don't hesitate to contact our helpful representatives to schedule an evaluation today.

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