Despite its fancy terminology all that BPH really points to is enlargement of the prostate gland. So, at worst, prostatic hypertrophy causes discomfort during urination in men. However, in certain cases it may lead to impotency during the latter stages of life.
What Is Prostatic Hypertrophy?
It would be far easier to grasp the nature of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia if you break down the term into its individual words:
Benign – This word signifies that enlargement due to faster cellular growth is not cancerous in mature. As such, it will not spread to nearby parts in the body.
Prostatic – The term indicates that the condition is related to the prostate gland, which is a small walnut shaped, hormone secreting source found in men. The prostate connects to the bladder via the urinary tube, and produces a thick fluid that helps in transporting sperm through the penis.
Hyperplasia – This word itself is a mash-up of two Greek origin words namely ‘hyper’ (a prefix denoting excessive or above normal quantification) and ‘plasso’ (roughly meaning formation). Thus hyperplasia signifies growth of an organ or its tissues owing to enhanced proliferation of the cells.
Thus, BPH or prostatic hypertrophy is a non-threatening yet physical condition seen in men and it is characterized by the enlargement of the prostate gland.
Problems Caused By An Enlarged Prostate
With age, the prostate gland will also increases in size. It begins to press on to the urethra (urinary pipe), thus creating discomfort during urination. The most common problems caused by prostatic hypertrophy include:
• The restriction of urethra disrupts normal urine stream. As a result, you might be unable to get a proper urine stream started or even stop it completely for that matter; an aspect known as terminal dribbling.
• The frequency of urination is noticed and it may reach a point where you wake up repeatedly in the night with the desire to pee.
• A false sense of urgency to urinate during the day, but majorly in the night.
• A burning sensation when you pee. This condition is termed as ‘Dysuria’
Almost all men in their 60’s will face prostatic hypertrophy. However, roughly 30% of them entering the age of 70 would actually face the above symptoms of BPH.
Diagnosis Of BPH And Its Treatment
If you went in for a prostate examination, then be prepared to be probed. But all jokes apart, when the prostate gets bigger in size, it tends to press lightly against the rectal wall. Thus, a doctor places a gloved finger inside the patient’s rectum to ‘feel’ for this gland enlargement around the walls.
If the above technique confirms swelling of the prostate, the doctor will then have to ascertain if it’s BPH or prostate cancer. As such, he/she would tell you to get a blood examination in order to evaluate PSA levels (prostate specific antigen). Unusually high PSA numbers point towards prostate cancer while normal PSA will prove that the swelling is most likely due to prostatic hypertrophy.
BPH is quite non-threatening. However, in the cases where treatment is required, doctors will prescribe medication that will reduce the size of the prostate and therefore ease the problems being faced with urination. Only in the rarest of BPH cases is surgery deemed necessary.