Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH, describes an enlarged prostate gland in men. It is a condition many men will eventually experience, and it progresses as a man ages. Let’s discover the dangers of leaving BPH untreated.
Basic Facts About BPH
The prostate gland is a small gland about the size of a walnut located below the bladder and near the urethra. It is an important gland since it produces semen.
It does not cause prostate cancer and is not a risk factor for cancer.
About one out of four men will have uncomfortable symptoms of an enlarged prostate by age 55. By age 80 about half will have symptoms that require treatment.
Some of the most common risk factors besides age include family history, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. There is other information that there may be factors resulting from rising testosterone and changes in the cellular level in the testes.
The Effects of BPH
When the prostate gland enlarges, it restricts urine flow due to its proximity to the urethra.
The prostate continues to enlarge until it begins to constrict the ability for a man to urinate.
As men begin to have symptoms of BPH, they may experience the following effects:
- A weak stream
- Difficulty starting and stopping urination
- Frequent feeling of needing to urinate
- Sense that the bladder is not empty
- Getting up several times at night to urinate
- Painful urination and ejaculation
Why BPH Should Be Treated
Some men will have minimal symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia at first. When the prostate begins to grow, there is a reduced ability for the bladder to hold urine. In addition, as the prostate grows larger, there can be some serious consequences if a man doesn’t have treatment.
This can lead to a complete blockage of the urethra, kidney damage, the development of both kidney and bladder stones and infections, urinary tract infections, and back up of pressure that damages the kidneys, plus other conditions that can require medical intervention.
Luckily, today there are minimally invasive treatments to open the urethra, drugs to shrink the prostate, and others to relax the muscles. There is no one treatment that is best for all men. There are surgical options as well.
The decision to treat BPH is between the patient and Dr. Steven Gange. This is usually based on a man’s age, his general health and the severity of the symptoms.