Movember 2


BPH - Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

As part of the Movember focusing on men's health, I would like to focus on BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Firstly, the prostrate gland is a male gland found at the base of the bladder. it is part of the reproductive system . The prostate produces fluids to feed and protect sperm cells. Remarkably, the prostrate undergoes two growth phases during your lifetime. The first growth phase occurs during puberty and is fueled by the increase of sex hormones. for some unknown reason the prostrate undergo a second growth phase when men are in their 30s. The prostrate continues to grow and peak in size at around the age of 70.

As the prostrate that enlarges with age may not cause any problems, however often an enlarged prostrate gland can become inflamed and cause urinary problems as it puts pressure upon the urinary tract.


 Inflammation of the prostrate is referred to as “Prostatitis” and often causes urinary problems in men. In older men symptoms often caused by a blockage in the urinary tubules is due to “benign prostatic hyperplasia” When the symptoms become noticeable enough they will need treatment. This non-cancerous BPH may cause many problems especially in emptying the bladder. A description of the problems include:

  • frequency in urination at night and day.
  • urgency without reaching a toilet in time when the bladder is over filled.
  • a slow start to urination and a slow flow
  • there may be frequent and incomplete urination.

 The warning signs to seek urgent medical advice include: an inability to urinate, painful urination, the presence of blood, a discharge or incontinence.


 If the Prostrate hyperplasia is severe you may need to have a catheter inserted to give immediate pressure relief to the bladder and kidneys. There is also a risk that the enlarged prostrate may not be benign, so the enlarged prostrate needs to be checked by your doctor.
This can be done by :

  • a physical examination,
  • a urine check for infection,
  • a flow rate check to estimate if there is any blockage,
  • ultrasound of bladder capacity,
  • a check of your whole urinary system.


If the BPH is only mild you can take these steps to minimize the discomfort: Minimize drinking coffee, alcohol and soft drinks especially before bed, use simple bladder exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles.
Some treatments for BPH include: long term antibiotic treatments if infection is the cause, medications that improve the urine flow, some drugs are used block prostrate growth, some herbal medications such as Saw Palmetto have been used with mixed success.

 An enlarged prostrate does not have to be cancerous to cause major problems. If there is pain, the presence of blood or the inability to urinate, then urgent medical advice is necessary.