An enlargement of the prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (or BPH) is an increase in the volume of this exclusively male gland. It affects men in general from 50 years of age and above. The prostate is a gland located below the bladder; its main function is to secrete a liquid participating in the movement of sperm. An enlarged prostate should not be confused with prostate cancer: they are two completely different diseases, BPH is not a precancerous condition. However, it is often responsible for physical discomfort. Also this hypertrophy should not be confused with prostatitis, prostate inflammation of infectious origin.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate vary from one person to another:
- the need to urinate frequently;
- sudden urgent need to urinate with accidents sometimes;
- a delay in the initiation of urination, the need to push for the flow to start;
- low and intermittent urinary stream;
- longer urination;
- a decrease in the force of ejaculation.
An enlarged prostate is suspected if these signs are present and a digital rectal examination may confirm the diagnosis. Additional tests may be added, urinary cytology examination, a blood test with determination of the prostate specific antigen or PSA. An ultrasound of the urinary tract can also be performed to assess more precisely the size of the prostate. The urinary flow measurement is a test to assess difficulties in urination.
There is no treatment to cure the disease. Medication will help reduce urinary difficulties. Other drugs, like inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase, will help reducing the volume of the prostate and thus the symptoms related to the compression of the prostate. In case of impact on quality of life despite these treatments, surgery may be needed. The most common is transurethral resection of the prostate where a part of the prostate is cut. Another technique is to remove the enlarged part surgically.
It is impossible to prevent hypertrophy of the prostate, there are nevertheless ways to prevent its worsening. These are simple gestures, to practice every day, such as not drinking at night and lots of physical activity.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff