The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system
that produces most of the seminal fluid. A normal prostate is
the size of a chestnut and weighs about 20 grams. It is situated
below the urinary bladder and surrounds parts of the urethra,
which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to exit
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
(BPH) by Definition
The prostate begins to enlarge as a natural process of aging.
In some men, the increase in size causes urination problems.
Doctors refer to this condition as Benign (non-cancerous)
Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or benign prostatic syndrome (BPS).
Not all men who have an enlarged prostate experience symptoms.
Yet if the prostate gland begins to expand substantially,
it presses on the urethra and narrows it (see Fig. 1). This leads
to the typical voiding disorders. Today, many men suffer from the symptoms of BPH. The number increases with age: about
30 percent of men over 50, 40 percent of men over 60 and up
to 50 percent of those over 70 years of age.1
What are the Symptoms of BPH?
BPH manifests a variety of symptoms1 that differ from patient
to patient. The narrowing of the urethra causes various urination
problems such as:
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Sudden, recurrent urge to urinate
- Dripping and leaking after urination
- Interrupted, slow or weak urine stream
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Painful, pushing or straining to urinate
- Inability to empty the bladder completely
Sometimes these symptoms can reduce the quality of life to
such a great extent that those affected build their daily routines
around the condition. They avoid drinking or plan their errands
around easy access to toilet facilities. When symptoms are
interfering with daily routine, it is highly recommended that
patients consult a physician for an effective therapy. If BPH is
not treated, it holds considerable risks. Without treatment
it can lead to complications such as severe urinary tract
infections, urinary retention or even kidney failure.
1. Roehrborn CG, McConnell JD, et al. AUA Guideline on the Management
of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Available at: