Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

What is Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)?

BPH is the enlargement of the prostate gland. The cells that make up the prostate begin to grow and multiply. This growth of the prostate compresses the urethra and hence obstructs the flow of urine, making it more difficult to pass urine and to empty the bladder completely.

The prevalence of BPH increases with age. Some degree of BPH is present in 50% of men over 50 years old and 90% of men over 90 years old.

BPH is not cancerous and there is no conclusive evidence that it can lead to cancer. The actual cause of BPH is unknown, but it may be linked to changes in hormone levels caused by the ageing process.


The prostate is an internal gland in men. It is about the size of a chestnut and lies between the bladder and the penis. It produces the fluid part of semen that carries sperm. The urethra, the tube that transports urine from bladder to penis, runs through it.


  • Difficulty in starting urination
  • Weak urine stream
  • Nocturia, i.e. frequent urination at night
  • Urinary retention, i.e. incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Urinary urgency

Diagnostic Tests

  • Digital rectal examination
  • Uroflowmetry
  • Ultrasonogram of prostate


If the prostate is not too large and symptoms are not severe, the condition may simply be monitored with regular check-up. More significant symptoms may be relieved with medication. Surgical resection of the prostate through the urethra is needed if symptoms are not relieved with medication or complications develop.

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