What is it?

Benign prostate hypertrophy is a benign enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate is a gland found only in men. It secretes a fluid that keeps sperm alive and healthy and that forms part of semen. In benign prostate hyperplasia the prostate enlarges slowly, and over time puts increasing pressure on the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis) and the base of the bladder.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of benign prostate enlargement are caused by the enlarged prostate placing pressure on the bladder and urethra (which carries urine from the bladder to the penis). This can affect urination in a number of ways. For example, it can:

  • Make it difficult for you to start urinating.
  • Weaken the flow of urine or cause “stopping and starting”.
  • Cause you to strain to pass urine.
  • Cause you to need to urinate frequently.
  • Cause you to wake up frequently during the night to urinate.
  • Cause a sudden urge to urinate, which can result in urinary incontinence if you can’t find a toilet quickly enough.
  • Cause you to not be able to empty your bladder fully.
  • Cause blood in the urine (haematuria). In the later stages, benign prostate enlargement can cause urine retention and other complications such as bladder stones, bladder infections and kidney damage.

What to expect?

The following advice may help to reduce the symptoms caused by benign prostate hyperplasia:

  • Limit beverages in the evening.
  • Don’t rush bathroom visits.
  • Schedule bathroom visits. Try to urinate at regular times — such as every four to six hours during the day — to “retrain” the bladder.
  • Staying active may also help to reduce symptoms.

Think you might have Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?

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Think you might have Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?