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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?

Male anatomy, location of the prostate

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

Normal prostate vs benign prostatic hyperplasia

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
Doctor explains symptoms and factors leading to BPH.

What are the Symptoms of BPH?

The severity of symptoms from prostate gland enlargement varies, and BPH rarely causes symptoms before age 40, but the occurrence and symptoms tend to increase with age.   Getting early treatment can minimize the consequences of BPH.  Learn to recognize these lower urinary tract symptoms that can indicate prostate enlargement:

  • urinary frequency—urination eight or more times a day
  • urinary urgency—the inability to delay urination
  • urinary incontinence—the accidental loss of urine
  • urinary retention – the inability to empty the bladder completely
  • nocturia—frequent urination during periods of sleep
  • trouble starting a urine stream
  • a weak or an interrupted urine stream
  • dribbling at the end of urination
  • pain after ejaculation or during urination
  • urine that has an unusual color or smell
  • urinary tract infection

It’s important to be diagnosed as early as possible if you are experiencing symptoms of BPH. Seek immediate medical care if you experience complete inability to urinate, blood in the urine, or great discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen and urinary tract.

How is Enlargement of the Prostate Treated?

Dr. Toubin treats benign prostatic hyperplasia based on the severity of your symptoms, your age and your overall health in addition to your personal preferences and how much your symptoms affect your daily life.  Numerous treatments are available for BPH including lifestyle changes, medication, minimally invasive procedures, like the UroLift® System, and surgery.

Why Consider UroLift®?

UroLift® is a minimally invasive system using permanent implants placed during an outpatient procedure that can be done in the physician’s office under local anesthesia. There is no cutting, heating or removing of tissue and patients experience exceptional improvement in quality of life.

Clinical data has shown that patients with enlarged prostates who were treated with the UroLift® System reported quick and long-term improvement in urinary symptoms and flow rate with no compromise in sexual function.3

UroLift® could be the best option for you.

Read more about UroLift®
Make an appointment today for relief from symptoms of BPH

If you're having urinary problems, even if you think your symptoms are minor, it's important to discuss them with a board-certified urologist like Dr. Toubin.

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  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benign_prostatic_hyperplasia
  2. https://prostate.net/articles/can-an-enlarged-prostate-lead-to-erection-problems
  3. Roehrborn et al. Can J Urol 2017