What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

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Benign prostatic hyperplasia refers to a condition wherein the prostate gland in men becomes enlarged. This condition is considered common and normal for men as they get older. The enlargement of the prostate gland is considered benign and does not lead to a malignant tumor. The problem with BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia is that the enlarged prostate may press on the other structures in the uro-genital area specially the urethra which carries urine from the bladder.

Men over the age of 50 may start to get BPH or prostatic enlargement. Many men beyond 60 or 70 years old will experience symptoms related to urination. Some men will complain of frequent urination with various episodes of having to get up at night just to feel relief. There are also patients who will have so-called dribbling problems wherein urination cannot be completely stopped at will. It is also common for men with benign prostatic hyperplasia to have the feeling of a full bladder even if they already have urinated. All these symptoms are due to the fact that the urethra is squeezed by the enlarging prostate. In worst cases, the enlarged prostate may cause a complete blockage of the urethra. This condition can lead to more serious symptoms like urine retention and possible infection of the bladder. Bladder and kidney stones may also result secondary to blockage of the urethra from benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia may be done through urine tests and digital rectal exam. Some cases also require ultrasound of the prostate area to check the severity of prostatic enlargement. Some doctors also prescribe a specific blood test to check if a person has BPH. Medication that helps restore the normal flow of urination may be necessary for many cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia. There are also procedures that can help reduce the size of the prostate gland. These procedures are minimally invasive and specifically target prostatic gland tissue through needle ablation or microwave technology. Worst cases of BPH may require surgery in the form of resection or partial removal of some parts of the prostate gland.

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