- What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?
- What is the prognosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia?
- What are the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia?
- How is benign prostatic hyperplasia diagnosed?
- What causes benign prostatic hyperplasia?
- Can it be prevented?
- How is benign prostatic hyperplasia treated?
- Which specialist treats benign prostatic hyperplasia?
- When does the condition typically start to develop?
- Is benign prostatic hyperplasia life-threatening?
- What can happen if it is left untreated?
- Will I need a catheter after treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia occurs when the size of the prostate gland increases due to a hormonal imbalance in men. The prostate is the male sex gland that surrounds the urethra. It is located below the bladder and above the rectum, and is responsible for producing seminal fluid. Prostatic hyperplasia is a common pathology in men over the age of 50, and can adversely affect their quality of life.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or enlargement of the prostate gland, is a common pathology in men after middle age. It is not serious, nor does it increase the risk of cancer, which can also affect this gland.
The main problem with benign prostatic hyperplasia is that its symptomatology is bothersome for the sufferer, and can even be incapacitating. However, the prognosis of this pathology is positive with prompt and adequate treatment, although it may return over time. Each case of hyperplasia will require necessary and regular follow-ups with the urologist.
The symptoms, which appear progressively, include:
In severe cases, prostate hyperplasia can lead to an absolute inability to urinate, urinary tract infections, or impaired kidney function.
If one or more of the above symptoms are present, the urologist will assess the person’s medical history, study the severity of their symptoms and perform a rectal examination to check the condition of the prostate.
The person may also require clinical tests such as urine tests to rule out infection, or blood tests to examine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and to rule out prostate cancer.
Although there is no known direct cause or risk factor for benign prostatic hyperplasia, it occurs when the size of the prostate gland increases due to a hormonal imbalance in the testicles: the female hormone (oestrogen) increases, while the male hormone (testosterone) decreases.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia cannot be prevented, but it can be detected in its early stage through regular check-ups with a urologist.
Specialists recommend annual prostate screening after the age of 50 when there is an increased risk of prostate enlargement.
If symptoms are mild, the specialist may prescribe medication and recommend lifestyle changes (such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine, playing sports, and adapting urination routines). In more severe cases, surgery may be required.
Operations for benign prostatic hyperplasia usually include:
- Transurethral resection of the prostate: This is the most common procedure, in which the prostate is removed through an endoscope inserted through the penis.
- Simple prostatectomy: The inside of the prostate is removed through an incision made in the abdomen.
- Prostate laser surgery: With this latest technique, the tissue is destroyed with a laser, making it a less invasive option.
A urologist is the specialist in charge of treating prostate hyperplasia.
The condition, more often than not, typically starts to develop in a man's thirties, with symptoms generally being experienced when they are into their fifties.
Thankfully, no, benign prostatic hyperplasia is nor cancerous nor life-threatening.
If left untreated, patients could be at a high risk of developing and suffering from some or all of the following medical conditions:
- urinary tract infections
- kidney stones
- blood in the urine
- urinary incontinence
- kidney and/or bladder damage
Whilst it is not a must, the majority of patients will be recommended to have a catheter inserted for a couple of days after treatment (especially surgical procedures) in order to help with urination.