Everything You Need to Know About Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

April 02,2020 |

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly referred to as BPH, is the medical term for a condition that describes an enlarged prostate. This happens in men frequently as they start to age and usually isn’t severe enough to result in medical complications. Instead, BPH causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms that may affect how you live your life.3 In most cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia, the prostate enlarges to a point where it pushes against the urethra.3 It tends to cause the bladder walls to thicken and eventually weakens the muscles of the bladder.3 When this happens, it’s difficult to completely empty the bladder, which leads to the problems and symptoms associated with BPH. To fully understand this condition, we’ve put together an article that discusses everything you need to know about benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Understanding the Prostate

Before going into more detail about benign prostatic hyperplasia, it’s important to understand the prostate. The prostate is an essential part of the male reproductive system.3 It aids in the process of creating semen and is roughly the size of a walnut.3 Due to hormones and natural cycles in the body, the prostate continues to grow from age 25 onwards.3 This is why most people that have benign prostatic hyperplasia are older—their prostate has been growing for years. There are a number of studies that have tried to further understand why the prostate continues to grow, despite any medical reasons, but there is a sufficient lack of data available to support any given hypothesis. Since there’s no underlying cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia, it can be difficult to pinpoint how to prevent it.

However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood that you’ll suffer from severe symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. The best action you can take is leading an all-around healthy lifestyle. Make sure your diet is filled with nutritious foods, limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, move your body regularly, and maintain a healthy BMI. If you need help getting on track to making healthy lifestyle changes, talk to your doctor today.

Risk Factors of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

While BPH is difficult to definitively prevent, it’s still important to monitor your health—especially if you have the risk factors. Some of the primary risk factors for BPH include general aging, family history, diabetes and heart disease, and lifestyle choices.1 The older you get, the more at risk you are for developing benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is because as men continue to age, their prostate does not stop growing. This makes sense when we look at the numbers—half of men experience one or more symptoms of BPH by the time they’re 80.1

Common Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

With that being said, make sure you keep an eye out for common symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia as you start to get older. Since an enlarged prostate ends up pinching the urethra, many of the first symptoms of BPH will affect how you urinate.4 Talk to your urologist if you notice any of the following symptoms during urination:

  • Difficulty starting urination
  • A weak or disrupted stream
  • Dribbling after finishing

In addition to symptoms that are apparent during urination, you might experience difficulty with the strength of your bladder. Over time, these symptoms may become more severe or fluctuate. The size of your prostate isn’t a direct indication that you’ll experience the symptoms of BPH, so make sure you talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any discomfort or the following additional symptoms:4

  • An increase in urination throughout the day despite consistent liquid intake
  • Feeling like you still have to urinate, even if you just went
  • Urinary incontinence
  • An immediate, urgent need to urinate
  • Sleep disruption due to the urgency to urinate throughout the night

 When to Seek Medical Care

If you start to notice any urinary problems, contact your urologist right away. While many urologic problems are normal for an aging adult to experience, there are often underlying causes that contribute to the signs or symptoms. Rather than deal with potentially embarrassing situations, talk to your urologist to learn more about what’s going on. This is important even if the symptoms are mild and don’t cause you any inconvenience. The longer you wait, the higher your chances of developing serious complications become. If you are unable to pass any urine at all, seek immediate medical attention.1

Getting a Diagnosis

If you have symptoms of BPH, getting a proper diagnosis is essential to creating an effective treatment plan. If this is your first trip to your urologist, your doctor will begin by asking your personal and family history.2 If you’ve been seeing the same urologist for a while, you will just need to provide any changes in history. You’ll be asked about your symptoms, liquid intake, any medications, and given a physical exam.

After the physical, your urologist will likely perform one or more medical tests to get more information about your symptoms. The common medical tests performed for diagnosing benign prostatic hyperplasia include a urinalysis, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, urodynamic tests, cytoscopy, transrectal ultrasound, and/or a bioposy.2

How to Treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia. Your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan and will start by trying the lowest risk plan possible—lifestyle changes. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may recommend medications, minimally invasive procedures, or even surgery.

Lifestyle Changes

The first thing your urologist will recommend is to make some necessary lifestyle changes. Creating healthy habits will help you reduce the severity of your symptoms and maybe even reverse them completely. Lifestyle changes are far from risky. In fact, they’re beneficial in more aspects than one. Because of this, your doctor will encourage these changes prior to exploring other treatment options.

In conjunction to healthy lifestyle changes, try lowering your fluid intake during times that you know you won’t be able to use a bathroom easily or right before bed. This will help you avoid any urgent problems and get enough rest throughout the night. Try to eliminate caffeine and alcohol—or at least reduce it to moderate levels of consumption. Avoid taking unnecessary medications, try to train your bladder, add some pelvic floor exercises, and treat constipation whenever it occurs.2


If you’re still experiencing symptoms of BPH after lifestyle changes, your urologist might suggest a few medications. Some of the medications are targeted toward shrinking the prostate while others reduce or eliminate the symptoms. Alpha blockers, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, and specific combination medications are some options to explore.2 Always follow your doctors treatment plan and never take anything that you’re not prescribed.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

If medications don’t work, there are some options for minimally invasive procedures to help alleviate BPH. These procedures are aimed at destroying enlarged prostate tissue and widening the urethra to relieve blockage and any urinary retention issues.2


Hopefully, one of the above treatments will work to alleviate your BPH, but if they don’t, you can talk to your urologist about surgical options. Surgical options help to treat long-term BPH issues by removing enlarged prostate tissue or surgically widening the urethra.2 As with any surgery, these carry more risks, so discuss your options with your doctor to make sure that you’re a good candidate.

Since there are numerous different types of treatment plans for BPH, there are also numerous types of complications. Each complication is associated with the specific treatment plan, so always talk to your doctor and discuss your situation. Medications may produce side effects, depending on what you’re taking, and if you experience any serious side effects, talk to your doctor. There are other options. The complications and risks with minimally invasive procedures or surgery can range from infection to urinary problems. Again, discuss these with your doctor prior to moving forward with your treatment plans.


If you think you might be suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia, or have other symptoms that raise concern, call your doctor immediately. As with other urological problems, BPH requires a proper diagnosis to ensure that the correct treatment is being administered. You don’t have to endure unnecessary strain out of fear of diagnosing BPH, there are many treatment options. If you need any urological supplies or additional educational resources, visit our educational support page or our product selection guide. Byram Healthcare is proud to offer full-service urological care and we have all the high quality urological supplies that you need. All of your orders can be discreetly delivered to your home. If you’re looking for personalized, confidential services, our teams of knowledgeable urological customer service specialists are here to assist.