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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (Prostate Enlargement)

  • What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (Prostate Enlargement)?

    Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate enlargement is a non-cancerous swelling of the prostate gland. It is a common urological disorder in men over 50 years old. The swelling of the prostate causes the urethra (the tube that passes urine out of the penis) to be narrowed. This blocks urine flow out of the bladder, such that more pressure is required to urinate.

    The bladder starts to tense and contract even when it is not completely full, eventually losing its ability to empty itself. The symptoms of BPH are linked to the narrowing of the urethra and the incomplete emptying of the bladder.

  • The exact cause of BPH is unclear but some risk factors include:

    • The build-up of the male hormone dihydroxytestosterone (DHT), which is a testosterone involved in the growth of the prostate. The cause of high levels of DHT is not known
    • Hormonal imbalance that occurs with increasing age
    • Other hormonal changes, such as low levels of oestrogen (a female hormone) and imbalance in growth factors that control cell division and cell death
  • Common symptoms of BPH include:

    • Blood in urine
    • Greater pressure and straining needed to begin urinating
    • Interrupted urination
    • Sensation that the bladder is not completely emptied after urination
    • Acute retention of urine (sudden inability to urinate)
    • Sudden urgent need to urinate
    • Urinating more frequently, especially at night
    • Incontinence (urine leakage)
  • Several treatments are available for BPH. A doctor will evaluate your condition and suggest a suitable treatment depending on age, the severity of BPH and your general health. Treatment options include:

    • Drug treatment, which includes 2 broad categories of medication:
      1. Drugs that relax the prostate to reduce the blockage of the bladder opening
      2. Drugs that block the production of the male hormone dihydroxytestosterone (DHT), which is involved in prostate enlargement
    • Laser vaporisation for patients with smaller prostate glands, whereby laser energy is delivered through the urethra to the prostate gland to destroy enlarged prostate tissues
    • Surgical treatment to remove parts of the swollen prostate that are pressing against the urethra. Various surgical methods include:
      1. Open surgery is used when the prostate is too large
      2. Transurethral incision of the prostate – small cuts made on the prostate via the urethra
      3. Transurethral resection of the prostate – removal of cancerous tissue from the prostate
    • Wait and observe if symptoms are less severe
    • Bladder and urethra damage
    • Bladder stones
    • Kidney damage
    • Kidney infections
    • Urinary incontinence (involuntary urine leakage)
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    There are 11 SpecialistsView All