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“My running tap is dysfunctional! I can no longer switch it on or off at will! What do i do about it?”

This is an expression a patient used to describe his symptoms which were caused by BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia).


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a state where the prostate becomes enlarged enough to cause urinary symptoms. This enlargement is non-cancerous.

The prostate is described as a walnut-sized (glandular and muscular) tissue located directly under the bladder and surrounds part of the urethra. The urethra is responsible for carrying sperm and urine out of the body through the penis.

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It is important to know that the prostate grows continually during a man’s life. This growth goes through two phases. The first occurs early during puberty (when the prostate doubles in size). The second phase starts around 25 years and continues all through adulthood. In the elderly, the prostrate can become big enough that it compresses the urethra and causes symptoms.

The enlarged prostate impinges against the urethra (causes it to become narrow) and makes the bladder wall thicker. As these progresses, the bladder weakens and loses the ability to empty fully (urinary retention).

The problems of BPH are caused majorly by urinary retention and narrowing of the urethra.



  • Age: About 50% of men between 51 and 60 have BPH. About 80% of men over 70 have it.
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart diseases
  • Men with two or more co-morbidities (hypertension, obesity or diabetes) are highly at risk for having BPH.



  • Increased frequency in urination
  • Increased urgency in urination
  • Low urine output
  • Feeling like urinating immediately after urinating
  • Long time spent in toilets to urinate
  • Difficulty and pain during urination

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These symptoms can be very discomforting and it can get worse if not properly managed.

You need to see a doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Complications that may arise include complete inability to urinate, urinary tract infections and blood in the urine.



The cause of BPH is not well known.
Some researchers believe that Benign Prostate Hyperplasia may be caused by factors related to aging and hormones produced by the testicles, as men who removed their testicles do not develop BPH.
Some theories point to changes in sex hormones including the presence of dihydrotestosterone (a male hormone) and estrogen (a female hormone) play a role in prostate growth and development. Studies show that the presence of high levels of dihydrotestosterone and estrogen as testosterone levels drops in the body are responsible for promoting the growth of the prostate cells leading to enlargement.



Diagnosis is typically made after the following:

  • Family and personal medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Medical tests



After visiting your doctor, your treatment will aim to reduce your symptoms, improve your daily life and enhance your quality of life.

The treatment options are:

  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Use of medication
  • Surgery
  • Minimally invasive procedures


There is no specific way to prevent Benign Prostate Hyperplasia as you cannot control your advancement in age. You can take charge of other risk factors by maintaining a healthy weight and living healthy.

Going for regular checkup is also important, as early diagnosis is key.