Benign prostatic hyperplasia

From Academic Kids

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or Benign prostatic hypertrophy is the increase in size of the prostate in middle-aged and elderly men. In BPH, the prostate grows larger and presses against the urethra and bladder, interfering with the normal flow of urine. It leads to symptoms of urinary hesitancy, frequent urination, increased risk of urinary tract infections and urinary retention. There is remarkably little correllation between BPH symptoms and the presence of prostate cancer.



Urinary symptoms of hesitancy, sensation of incomplete voiding and frequently passing small amounts of urine are all suggestive of BPH in middle-aged and elderly men. Due to the incomplete voiding, there is stasis of bacteria in the bladder residue and an increased risk of urinary tract infections.

A small proportion presents with urinary retention, in which inadequate amounts of urine are passed and the bladder distends greatly. Untreated, this leads to a decrease in renal function and hydronephrosis (obstructive uropathy).


Rectal examination (palpation of the prostate through the rectum) may reveal a markedly enlarged prostate. It is dependent on the skills of the doctor.

Often, blood tests are performed to rule out prostatic malignancy: elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels suggest prostate cancer. It has to be borne in mind that rectal examination can increase PSA levels in patients without malignancy.

Ultrasound examination of the testicles, prostate and kidneys is often performed, again to rule out malignancy and hydronephrosis.


More than half of the men in the United States between the ages of 60 and 70 and as many as 90 percent between the ages of 70 and 90 have symptoms of BPH. For some men, the symptoms may be severe enough to require treatment.


Alpha blockers1-adrenergic receptor antagonists) (such as doxazosin, prazosin and tamsulosin) and certain antiandrogens such as the 5α-reductase inhibitors (finasteride and dutasteride) are used, often together, in suppressing the symptoms.

There is also some evidence of the efficacy of Serenoa repens (saw palmetto) preparations in alleviating BPH symptoms. A systematic review of evidence found comparable efficacy to finasteride. (Wilt et al., 2002)

If medical treatment fails, transurethral resection of prostate (TURP) surgery may need to be performed. This involves removing (part of) the prostate through the urethra.

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