Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland, the normally walnut-sized gland that produces the fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. The growth is non-cancerous and related to hormonal stimulation throughout life. BPH can compress the urethra – which runs through the center of the prostate – and can cause urination and bladder problems.
BPH can begin when a man is in his 30s, but symptoms usually appear after age 50. The symptoms of BPH can vary, but the most common ones include:
It is important to tell your doctor about urinary problems such as those described above. In many cases, these symptoms suggest BPH, but they can also be signs of a more serious condition.
Diagnosis can be confirmed through a variety of tests. The most common tests include:
Treatment for BPH often begins with drug therapy. There are a variety of medications that can relieve symptoms and slow the growth of the prostate gland.
If drug therapy fails to relieve symptoms of BPH, your urologist may suggest a non-surgical procedure, such as microwave therapy, needle ablation or focused ultrasound.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend removal of the enlarged part of the prostate. This can be done through a variety of minimally invasive procedures where only the enlarged tissue that is pressing against the urethra is removed.