Men’s Health – Spotlight on Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy - GPDQ
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Men’s Health – Spotlight on Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is very common in men and even more so in older age groups.

Like many health conditions, there are certain myths or factual inaccuracies around BPH. Many men worry or believe that having an enlarged prostate means they have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. This is not the case.

It’s not a cancer and it’s not usually a serious threat to health however the symptoms can be troublesome.

It’s a big reason for men to come to visit their GP, so GPDQ has put together a quick guide to BHP:

What is Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy?

BPH is a condition in men in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged and not cancerous. The prostate is a small gland, located in the pelvis, and is part of the male reproductive system. An enlarged prostate can place pressure on the bladder and the urethra leading to lower urinary tract symptoms.

BPH is a very common condition in men aged over 50 years.  It occurs in about 50 percent of men aged 60 and up to 90 percent of men older than 80.


The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown.  It is believed to be linked to hormonal changes as a man gets older.


  • Increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • Difficulty initiating a urine stream
  • Weak or an interrupted urine stream
  • Dribbling at the end of the stream
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Difficulty to fully empty your bladder
  • Difficulty or pain with ejaculation

How is BPH diagnosed?

If you have any symptoms of BPH you should see your GP. Your GP will talk through your symptoms, examine you and request some tests.

A GP may do some of these tests but others might need to be done at a hospital.

Your doctor needs to rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms to BPH, for example prostate cancer or urinary tract infection.

What is the treatment for BPH?

Treatment options depend on how severe your symptoms are.  Different options for treatment may include –

  • Lifestyle changes:
  • drinking less alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks
  • limiting your intake of artificial sweeteners
  • exercising regularly
  • drinking less in the evening
  • Medications: to reduce the size of the prostate and relax your bladder. Medication may be recommended to treat moderate to severe symptoms.
  • Surgery: is usually only recommended for moderate to severe symptoms that have not responded to medicine.

Complications of BPH

Occasionally BPH can lead to other medical complications, including:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI). Symptoms may include temperature, abdominal pain, pain in your sides, pain or burning when passing water and increased frequency.
  • Acute urinary retention. Symptoms may include not being able to pass any urine, lower abdominal pain, swelling of the lower abdomen.

You should seek urgent medical attention if you develop any of these symptoms.