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What is benign prostate hyperplasia?

Benign prostate hyperplasia or enlargement, which can also be referred to as BPE, is a medical condition that affects men only causes enlargement of the prostate. The prostate is a small gland that is located in the pelvis between the penis and bladder. This can lead to issues with passing urine, due to additional pressure on the bladder and urethra.


BPE is more common in men over the age of 50, however is not cancerous or a serious risk to health. It important to note that an enlarged prostate is not caused by cancer, and does not put you at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

The cause of benign prostate enlargement is unknown; however, it is thought to be related to changes in hormone levels as men get older (this is why it is most common in men over the age of 50).

Common symptoms associated with BPE include:

  • Difficulty to start urinating

  • A frequent need to urinate

  • Difficulty fully emptying the bladder

The severity of the symptoms can differ between patients; some men will have mild symptoms, whereas others will have trouble that needs surgical intervention.

Treatment

Treatment for prostate enlargement differs depending on how severe the symptoms that the condition is causing are.

If you have mild symptoms, then it is unlikely that you will need any immediate treatment, however will be given regular prostate examinations to ensure that everything is ‘normal’ and that there have been no sudden changes.

There are a number of lifestyles changes that patients can follow to help reduce the symptoms that they are experiencing. This includes:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcoholic and fizzy drinks

  • Limit your use of artificial sweeteners

  • Drink less water in the evening

  • Try to exercise regularly

You may also be offered a medication that reduces the size of the prostate and relaxes the bladder; this is most commonly given to patients that are suffering from moderate to severe symptoms.

Surgery will usually only be offered to patients that have moderate to severe symptoms and have not had a positive result from the medication

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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