Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and not cancerous. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is also called benign prostatic hypertrophy or benign prostatic obstruction.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is when the prostate and surrounding tissue expands. The prostate goes through two main growth periods as a man ages. The first is early in puberty when the prostate doubles in size. The second begins around age 25 and continues during most of a man’s life. As you age, your prostate may get larger. BPH is when it gets large enough to cause problems.

How Does the Prostate Work?

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system, and its main job is to make fluid for semen. It is about the size of a walnut and weighs an ounce or so. It sits below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It goes around a tube called the urethra. The urethra carries urine from the bladder and out through the penis.

Causes of Benign Prostate Enlargement

The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown, but it’s believed to be linked to hormonal changes as a man gets older.

The balance of hormones in your body changes as you get older, and this may cause your prostate gland to grow.

Who is at Risk for BPH?

There are many risk factors for BPH. Men who are at a higher risk include:

  • Men over the age of 50 as the risk for BPH rises with age
  • Men whose fathers had BPH
  • Men who are overweight or obese
  • Men who don’t stay active
  • Some men with erectile dysfunction


When the prostate is enlarged, it can bother or block the bladder. Needing to pass urine often is a common symptom of BPH. This might be every 1 to 2 hours, mainly at night.

Other symptoms include:

  • Incomplete emptying: the feeling your bladder is full, even after passing urine.
  • Frequency: the need to pass urine often, about every one to two hours.
  • Intermittency: the need to stop and start several times when passing urine.
  • Urgency: feeling the urgent need to pass urine as if you can’t wait.
  • Weak stream: a weak urine flow.
  • Straining: trouble starting to pass urine or the need to push or strain to pass urine.
  • Nocturia: the need to wake up at night more than two times to pass urine.

If BPH becomes severe, you might not be able to pass urine at all. This is an emergency that must be treated right away.


See your doctor if you have symptoms that might be BPH. See your doctor right away if you have blood in your urine, pain or burning when you urinate, or if you cannot urinate.

 The following tests might be used to diagnose BPH.

  • Physical Examination
  • Urine Tests

These tests are done to measure how well you release urine. This shows the doctor if the urethra is blocked or obstructed. There are several types:

  • Urinalysis tests your urine sample to check for important things such as blood, signs of infection, glucose (sugar), protein, and other factors that can tell your urologist the cause of your symptoms. Urine tests are also used to screen for bladder cancer. If you have blood in your urine, pain or burning when you pass urine, or you cannot pass urine, it is important to see your doctor right away.
  • Post-void residual volume (PVR) measures urine left in the bladder after passing urine. This is done to diagnose the problem. It may also be done before surgery.
  • Uroflowmetry measures how fast urine flows. This is done to diagnose the problem. 
  • Urodynamic pressure-flow study tests pressure in the bladder during urination.
  • Scans

These tests are done to see the size and shape of the prostate. Some BPH scans include:

  • Ultrasounds to look inside the body and see the size and shape of the prostate.
  • Cystoscopy is an exam used to look at the urethra or bladder with a scope.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are more detailed scans. These are done if surgery is necessary to reopen the flow of urine. These scans provide a very clear image of the prostate and surrounding area. It shows exactly how and where the prostate is enlarged.
  • Blood Tests

If cancer is suspected, blood tests may be done.

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests are used to screen for prostate cancer. The PSA blood test checks the level of PSA, a protein made only by the prostate gland. Avoid sexual activity several days prior to the test, as this may artificially increase the PSA reading.

Treating Benign Prostate Enlargement

Our Consultant Urologist at Westminster Ortho Med Clinic will conduct the necessary examinations for a benign prostatic hyperplasia diagnosis. Treatment for an enlarged prostate will depend on how severe your symptoms are.

If you have mild symptoms, you do not usually need immediate treatment. Our Urologist will agree with you when you need more check-ups.

You’ll probably be advised to make lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Drinking less alcohol, caffeine, and fizzy drinks
  • Limiting your intake of artificial sweeteners
  • Exercising regularly
  • Drinking less in the evening

Medicine to reduce the size of the prostate and relax your bladder may be recommended to treat moderate to severe symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Surgery is usually only recommended for moderate to severe symptoms that have not responded to medicine.

Disclaimer: All contents on this site are for general information and in no circumstances, information be substituted for professional advice from the relevant healthcare professional, Writer does not take responsibility for any damage done by the misuse or use of the information.