what is BPH?
What is the Prostate?
A part of the male reproductive system, the prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that makes fluid which goes into semen. The prostate sits in front of the rectum just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra at the neck of the bladder. Throughout life, most men experience continued growth of the prostate although it isn't entirely clear what causes the prostate to enlarge. Scientific studies suggest that the enlargement may occur because of changing hormone levels as men age.
What is BPH?
BPH is the abbreviation for “benign prostatic hyperplasia,” but this condition is also known as prostate gland enlargement, benign enlargement of the prostate (BEP, BPE), adenofibromyomatous hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy, and benign prostatic obstruction. It is a condition that occurs in men when the prostate gland is enlarged and not cancerous (benign).
As the prostate enlarges, it presses against and constricts the urethra. The bladder wall becomes thicker, and the bladder may weaken and lose the ability to empty completely. The narrowing of the urethra and the inability to empty the bladder completely (urinary retention) cause many of the symptoms of BPH.
A normal prostate in on the left. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is on the right.1
Are You at Risk of Getting BPH?
Researchers have not found a way to prevent benign prostatic hyperplasia, and these factors may increase your risk of developing an enlarged prostate:
- Aging. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the most common prostate problem for men older than age 50.
- Family history. Having a blood relative, such as a father or a brother, with prostate problems increases your risk.
- Medical conditions. Your risk also increases with type 2 diabetes as well as heart and circulatory diseases.
- Lifestyle. Obesity increases your risk. Physical activity lowers your risk.
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Recent research suggests that there is a connection between ED and BPH.2