About This Condition
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-malignant enlargement of the prostate gland.
The prostate is a small gland that surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra in men. Its major function is to contribute to seminal fluid. If the prostate enlarges, pressure may be put on the urethra, acting like a partial clamp and causing a variety of urinary symptoms. Half of all 50-year-old men have BPH, and the prevalence of the condition increases with advancing age. The name “benign prostatic hyperplasia” has replaced the older term “benign prostatic hypertrophy”; both terms refer to the same condition.
A man with BPH has to urinate more often, especially at night, and experiences less force and caliber while urinating, often dribbling. If the prostate enlarges too much, urination is difficult or impossible, and the risk of urinary tract infection and kidney damage increases. A doctor can usually detect an enlarged prostate during a rectal exam.
Doctors often recommend surgery when symptoms are severe or when there is a high risk of urinary obstruction. Though prostate surgery has a high success rate, it also has a higher rate of complications than drug therapy.