What Is BPH

Men over the age of 50 should be concerned about symptoms of enlarged prostate or BPH. BPH stands for benign prostatic hyperplasia. It is not understood what causes BPH and there are no real risk factors that you can change to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

Prostate problems have been around for centuries and it was found that men who had their testicles removed before puberty did not develop prostate problems and cancer. Doctors believe that aging is the biggest cause of prostate problems. Rarely will a man under 40 be diagnosed with prostate problems.

Hormones Decrease

Testosterone, the male hormone that is produced through the lifetime of a man, decreases in production of this hormone. This leaves a higher level of the female hormone estrogen. Studies show the higher amount of estrogen in the prostate gland increases the substances that promote cell growth. There are two main periods of growth of the prostate gland; at puberty and it starts growing again around the age of 25.

In some men, the prostate continues to grow until it is restricting the urethra and causes problems with urination. Some believe the cells are given special “instructions” early in life that causes them to reawaken these cells later in life. These special cells then send signals to the other cells in the gland to grow or be more sensitive to hormones that influence its growth.


Symptoms of BPH often are not noticed until the patient begins having trouble passing urine. The patient may gradually lose control of bladder function. The bladder does not empty completely and could cause problems with infection. Other symptoms of an enlarged prostate are a weak or interrupted stream of urine, an urgency to urinate, leaking or dribbling, and more often needing to urinate during the night.

The prostates size does not always find out how bad the barrier is or how severe the symptoms. A patient with an enlarged prostate may have only a little obstruction and others who have smaller prostate glands may have bigger blockages and problems. Occasionally a man will not realize he has a prostate problem or blockage until he is unable to urinate at all.


The inability to urinate may be triggered by an over-the-counter cold or allergy medicine with a decongestant drug named sympathomimetic. The inability to urinate can also be caused by extreme cold, alcohol, and long periods of inactivity or immobility. It is important to note that eight out of 10 cases with these symptoms will point to BPH. They also can mean a more serious condition is present that might need immediate treatment.

Severe cases of BPH can cause more serious problems over time. The strain on the bladder caused by urine retention can lead to urinary tract infections and bladder and kidney damage. It may also lead to stones in the urinary tract and incontinence. If BPH is left untreated, the bladder may develop permanent damage. If you are having any of the listed symptoms, check with your doctor to have diagnostic testing.