Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is a condition that affects many men over the age of 50. This condition causes difficulty with urination, which can lead to other medical issues. Fortunately, treatments are available to help manage the symptoms of BPH and reduce the size of the prostate.

What Is BPH?

BPH is a condition that affects the prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder in men. It is one of the most common conditions among aging men and is characterized by prostate enlargement.

What Causes BPH?

The exact cause of BPH is unknown, but it is believed to be linked to hormonal changes. As men age, they experience hormonal changes, which can cause the prostate to enlarge.

What Factors Increase Your Risk of BPH?

Age is the primary risk factor for BPH, as the condition is most common in men over 50. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of BPH?

The primary symptom of BPH is difficulty urinating which can manifest as a weak urine stream, frequent urination, urgency, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. 

Other symptoms can include difficulty starting and stopping urine flow, waking at night to urinate, and feeling the urge to urinate even when the bladder is empty.

How Do You Know if You Have BPH?

Diagnosis of BPH usually begins with a physical exam and a digital rectal exam to check for an enlarged prostate. The doctor may also order a urine test to check for infection and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to check for prostate cancer.

If the doctor suspects BPH, they may suggest an ultrasound or a prostate biopsy confirm the diagnosis.

What Are the Best Treatments for BPH?

Treatment for BPH depends on the severity of the symptoms. In mild cases, lifestyle changes such as drinking less fluids before bedtime and avoiding alcohol can help alleviate symptoms. 

In more severe cases, medications or surgery may be necessary. Medicines used to treat BPH include alpha-blockers, which relax the prostate and bladder muscles, and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, which reduce the size of the prostate. 

Other treatments include minimally invasive procedures to remove excess prostate tissue, such as:

  • Aquablation is a minimally invasive treatment that uses a high-pressure water jet to remove excess prostate tissue. The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia and can be done on an outpatient basis. It may also have a lower risk of side effects compared to traditional surgical treatments for BPH.
  • UroLift is a minimally invasive treatment that uses small implants to lift and hold the prostate tissue away from the urethra, the tube through which urine passes from the bladder out of the body. UroLift is performed as an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia and does not involve cutting, heating, or removal of prostate tissue. It has a relatively low risk of side effects and complications.
  • Rezum is a minimally invasive treatment that involves the use of steam to shrink the prostate gland. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia, and there is no cutting of prostate tissue. Like other minimally invasive BPH treatments, the risk of side effects is lower than for traditional surgery. 
  • GreenLight Laser Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes laser energy to remove enlarged prostate tissue. It's typically performed under local or general anesthesia, often on an outpatient basis. This therapy is known for its precision and effectiveness in treating BPH symptoms, with a lower risk of side effects compared to traditional surgical methods.

In some cases, medications may be used in combination with one of these procedures.

Surgery is usually reserved for more severe cases and includes procedures such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

Can I prevent BPH?

Though BPH cannot be prevented, lifestyle changes can be implemented to immediately improve prostate health and alleviate symptoms. To lower your risk of acquiring BPH and manage symptoms, try to:

  • Increase your activity level and exercise frequently
  • Reduce your red meat and fat intake
  • Eat vegetables and salad greens such as tomatoes, green peppers, avocados, broccoli, and kale
  • Avoid certain medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, that can aggravate benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms
  • Reduce your caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Minimize and avoid stress

If you have been diagnosed with BPH, it is important to talk to your doctor about different treatment options. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment is right for you. With the proper treatment, you can manage your BPH and its symptoms.


1. What is the difference between BPH and prostate cancer?

BPH is a noncancerous prostate enlargement, while prostate cancer is a malignant prostate tumor. 

2. Are there any home remedies for BPH? 

Yes, lifestyle changes such as drinking fewer fluids before bedtime and avoiding alcohol can help alleviate symptoms of mild BPH.

3. How can I prevent BPH? 

There is no sure way to prevent BPH, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding certain medications may help reduce your risk.

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