Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH, is a non-cancerous swelling or enlargement of the prostate gland. It most commonly occurs in men 50 years and older, but it actually begins its development when a man is in his 30’s. Though this is early for prostate concerns, the signs and symptoms do not appear until after 50 so the condition is able to survive undetected for 20 years at the most.
The symptoms of BPH include impeded urine flow, bladder retention, feeling the need to urinate frequently, slow and weak urine stream and urinary tract infections that tend to reoccur even after aggressive treatment. BPH is very common in men over the age of 50 and while over half of them have symptoms of this condition, only about 10% actually require medical intervention.
BPH is not a type of cancer or a precursor to developing cancer. This is the main reason that it isn’t always treated. Only those with symptoms of some significance are given medical treatment. Others are simply monitored for any changes in the prostate. When treatment is needed it comes in several forms. One form is alpha blockers. They smooth and relax the muscles in the prostate gland and the neck of the bladder. This helps to bring relief from the feeling of obstruction caused by the enlarged prostate gland. Another form of treatment is 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. This blocks the ability of the male body to convert testosterone into an active form within the prostate. Though surgery is an option for some patients, this type of treatment is extremely rare.