Disease: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Overview

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — also called prostate gland enlargement — is a common condition as men get older. An enlarged prostate gland can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder. It can also cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.

There are several effective treatments for prostate gland enlargement, including medications, minimally invasive therapies and surgery. To choose the best option, you and your doctor will consider your symptoms, the size of your prostate, other health conditions you might have and your preferences.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Symptoms

The severity of symptoms in people who have prostate gland enlargement varies, but symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time. Common signs and symptoms of BPH include:

  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder

Less common signs and symptoms include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Inability to urinate
  • Blood in the urine

The size of your prostate doesn't necessarily determine the severity of your symptoms. Some men with only slightly enlarged prostates can have significant symptoms, while other men with very enlarged prostates can have only minor urinary symptoms.

In some men, symptoms eventually stabilize and might even improve over time.

Other possible causes of urinary symptoms

Conditions that can lead to symptoms similar to those caused by enlarged prostate include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis)
  • Narrowing of the urethra (urethral stricture)
  • Scarring in the bladder neck as a result of previous surgery
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Problems with nerves that control the bladder
  • Cancer of the prostate or bladder

When to see a doctor

If you're having urinary problems, discuss them with your doctor. Even if you don't find urinary symptoms bothersome, it's important to identify or rule out any underlying causes. Untreated, urinary problems might lead to obstruction of the urinary tract.

If you're unable to pass any urine, seek immediate medical attention.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Causes

The prostate gland is located beneath your bladder. The tube that transports urine from the bladder out of your penis (urethra) passes through the center of the prostate. When the prostate enlarges, it begins to block urine flow.

Most men have continued prostate growth throughout life. In many men, this continued growth enlarges the prostate enough to cause urinary symptoms or to significantly block urine flow.

It isn't entirely clear what causes the prostate to enlarge. However, it might be due to changes in the balance of sex hormones as men grow older.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Diagnosis

Your doctor will start by asking detailed questions about your symptoms and doing a physical exam. This initial exam is likely to include:

  • Digital rectal exam. The doctor inserts a finger into the rectum to check your prostate for enlargement.
  • Urine test. Analyzing a sample of your urine can help rule out an infection or other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
  • Blood test. The results can indicate kidney problems.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA is a substance produced in your prostate. PSA levels increase when you have an enlarged prostate. However, elevated PSA levels can also be due to recent procedures, infection, surgery or prostate cancer.

After that, your doctor might recommend additional tests to help confirm an enlarged prostate and to rule out other conditions. These tests include:

  • Urinary flow test. You urinate into a receptacle attached to a machine that measures the strength and amount of your urine flow. Test results help determine over time if your condition is getting better or worse.
  • Postvoid residual volume test. This test measures whether you can empty your bladder completely. The test can be done using ultrasound or by inserting a catheter into your bladder after you urinate to measure how much urine is left in your bladder.
  • 24-hour voiding diary. Recording the frequency and amount of urine might be especially helpful if more than one-third of your daily urinary output occurs at night.

If your condition is more complex, your doctor may recommend:

  • Transrectal ultrasound. An ultrasound probe is inserted into your rectum to measure and evaluate your prostate.
  • Prostate biopsy. Transrectal ultrasound guides needles used to take tissue samples (biopsies) of the prostate. Examining the tissue can help your doctor diagnose or rule out prostate cancer.
  • Urodynamic and pressure flow studies. A catheter is threaded through your urethra into your bladder. Water — or, less commonly, air — is slowly injected into your bladder. Your doctor can then measure bladder pressure and determine how well your bladder muscles are working. These studies are usually used only in men with suspected neurological problems and in men who have had a previous prostate procedure and still have symptoms.
  • Cystoscopy. A lighted, flexible instrument (cystoscope) is inserted into your urethra, allowing your doctor to see inside your urethra and bladder. You will be given a local anesthetic before this test.

Tests and diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic specialists have experience diagnosing complex conditions involving enlarged prostate. You have access to the latest diagnostic testing, including urodynamic and pressure flow studies.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Complications

Complications of an enlarged prostate can include:

  • Sudden inability to urinate (urinary retention). You might need to have a tube (catheter) inserted into your bladder to drain the urine. Some men with an enlarged prostate need surgery to relieve urinary retention.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs). Inability to fully empty the bladder can increase the risk of infection in your urinary tract. If UTIs occur frequently, you might need surgery to remove part of the prostate.
  • Bladder stones. These are generally caused by an inability to completely empty the bladder. Bladder stones can cause infection, bladder irritation, blood in the urine and obstruction of urine flow.
  • Bladder damage. A bladder that hasn't emptied completely can stretch and weaken over time. As a result, the muscular wall of the bladder no longer contracts properly, making it harder to fully empty your bladder.
  • Kidney damage. Pressure in the bladder from urinary retention can directly damage the kidneys or allow bladder infections to reach the kidneys.

Most men with an enlarged prostate don't develop these complications. However, acute urinary retention and kidney damage can be serious health threats.

Having an enlarged prostate is not believed to increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Alternative medicine

The Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved any herbal medications for treatment of an enlarged prostate.

Studies on herbal therapies as a treatment for enlarged prostate have had mixed results. One study found that saw palmetto extract was as effective as finasteride in relieving symptoms of BPH, although prostate volumes weren't reduced. But a subsequent placebo-controlled trial found no evidence that saw palmetto is better than a placebo.

Other herbal treatments — including beta-sitosterol extracts, pygeum and rye grass — have been suggested as helpful for reducing enlarged prostate symptoms. But the safety and long-term efficacy of these treatments hasn't been proved.

If you take any herbal remedies, tell your doctor. Certain herbal products might increase the risk of bleeding or interfere with other medications you're taking.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Lifestyle and home remedies

To help control the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, try to:

  • Limit beverages in the evening. Don't drink anything for an hour or two before bedtime to avoid middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. They can increase urine production, irritate the bladder and worsen symptoms.
  • Limit decongestants or antihistamines. These drugs tighten the band of muscles around the urethra that control urine flow, making it harder to urinate.
  • Go when you first feel the urge. Waiting too long might overstretch the bladder muscle and cause damage.
  • Schedule bathroom visits. Try to urinate at regular times — such as every four to six hours during the day — to "retrain" the bladder. This can be especially useful if you have severe frequency and urgency.
  • Follow a healthy diet. Obesity is associated with enlarged prostate.
  • Stay active. Inactivity contributes to urine retention. Even a small amount of exercise can help reduce urinary problems caused by an enlarged prostate.
  • Urinate — and then urinate again a few moments later. This practice is known as double voiding.
  • Keep warm. Colder temperatures can cause urine retention and increase the urgency to urinate.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Risk factors

Risk factors for prostate gland enlargement include:

  • Aging. Prostate gland enlargement rarely causes signs and symptoms in men younger than age 40. About one-third of men experience moderate to severe symptoms by age 60, and about half do so by age 80.
  • Family history. Having a blood relative, such as a father or a brother, with prostate problems means you're more likely to have problems.
  • Diabetes and heart disease. Studies show that diabetes, as well as heart disease and use of beta blockers, might increase the risk of BPH.
  • Lifestyle. Obesity increases the risk of BPH, while exercise can lower your risk.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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