what is enlarged prostate (BPH): Cause, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

What is enlarged prostate?

Prostate is a gland that produced the semen that nourishes and carries sperm during ejaculation. Prostate gland is located between the urinary bladder and penis that surround the urethra.

When the size of the prostate grows from normal then it is known as an enlarged gland. Benign Prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a medical terminology that is used for an enlarged prostate gland.

Enlarge prostate gland is not prostate cancer and it does not increase the risk of prostate cancer. Prostate gland enlargement happens to nearly all men in old age.

When the size of the prostate gland grows then it put pressure on the urethra and creates various complications such as a frequent urge to urinate, difficulty starting urination, insentience in urine, weak urine flow, and dribbling.

Many men are very worried about their enlarged prostate gland because of the development of prostate cancer. But this is not true, it does not mean that an enlarged prostate lead to prostate cancer. There are lots of treatments available for benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The risk of prostate cancer is not greater for a man with an enlarged prostate than a man with no enlarged prostate.

What is enlarged prostate

Symptoms of enlarged prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common medical condition that affects men in old age, above 50 years. BPH occurs when the size of the prostate gland grows and put pressure on the urethra. This pressure produces various kinds of symptoms.

These symptoms vary from person to person, but not all men with BPH need to have these symptoms.

The common symptoms of an enlarged prostate (BPH):

Frequent or urgent urination

Enlarge prostate causes more frequent or urgent peeing than the usual routine, especially at night. This can disturb sleep and daily activities. 

Trouble in starting pee

The growth of the prostate presses the urethra which in turn causes difficulty in starting urination or maintaining a normal stream of urine.

Weak Urine Stream

 Enlarge prostate causes a weak urine stream, making it harder for an individual to start and stop urine as well as empty the bladder fully.

Incontinence of urine

Incontinence of urine means leakage of urine, it usually occurs in a severe case of enlarged prostate. It is very embarrassing and drastically affects self-esteem and social life

Causes Urinary Tract Infections

Enlarge prostate cause urinary tract infection but it is not very common. BPH cause a blockage in the urinary tract, where pathogenic bacteria start to grow, which can increase the risk of urinary tract infections.

Blood in Urine

In severe cases, enlarged prostate causes blood in urine but it is a less common symptom of BPH.

Pain during urination

Enlarge prostate can cause pain or discomfort during urination. This pain may due to inflammation or irritation in the urinary bladder or urinary tract.

Sexual Dysfunction

Enlarged prostate in some cases causes sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive and pain during ejaculation.

Stones in the urinary bladder

If urine is stayed for a longer period due to PBH, then it causes stones in the bladder, which lead to further medical complications.


Dribbling means the involuntary loss of a small amount of urine after emptying the bladder.

Sometime small amount of urine loss occurs from the enlarged prostate patient after urination, which is very embarrassing and creates problems for individuals. The patient feels that he has not emptied the bladder.

What causes enlarged prostate

The exact cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia is unknown, but it is believed that it can be linked to hormonal changes in old age. In old age, the level of sex hormones such as testosterone and other androgens increases and causes prostate gland enlargement.

Here are some pronounced factors that may contribute to prostate gland enlargement:

Old age

Old age is the main cause of enlarged prostate because with time the size of the prostate gland grows and squeezes the urethra and causing various medical complications.

Genetics or family history

An individual with a family history of BPH is more prone to develop an enlarged prostate. Some diseases are genetically transferred from parent to offspring.

But in this case, it is not necessary that someone whose father or ancestors had BPH will have an enlarged prostate also.

Changes in hormonal balance

The major cause of enlarged prostate is hormonal imbalance, especially dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone helps in the growth of the prostate gland. DHT is a hormone produced by the testes and prostate gland.

Inflammation or prostatitis

Inflammation of the prostate gland is known as prostatitis. Inflammation can be caused by bacterial infection, autoimmune disorders, fungi, or other chemical irritation.

This inflammation causes the growth of the prostate gland which leads to benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Certain Lifestyle Factors

Certain lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of developing an enlarged prostate. For example, obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, sedentary life, and lack of exercise are linked to an enlarged prostate

A high-fat diet and low content of fruits and vegetables may also increase the risk of enlarged prostate.  

learn about weight loss

Neurological disorders

Some neurological disorders affect the neurons that innervate the urinary bladder and prostate gland which leads to an enlarged prostate.

The common neurological disorders that cause enlarged prostate include Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

Certain Medicines

Some medicines such as alpha-blockers used to treat urinary problems or hypertension and may cause the prostate gland to relax and enlarge.

Other medicines that cause enlarge prostate are anti-allergic, opioids, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Frequent Urinary tract infections UTIs

Frequent UTIs may cause benign prostatic hyperplasia because bacterial infections cause inflammation which causes the enlargement of the prostate gland. If you have frequent UTIs then consult your healthcare provider immediately.

Treatment for enlarged prostate

Various types of treatment options are available for enlarged prostate but the choice of treatment depends on the symptoms severity, condition of patients, and size of the prostate gland.

Here are the most common treatment options for benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Regular checkups and waiting

If symptoms of enlarged prostate are moderate then just do a regular checkup and wait for the recovery. This is also known as active surveillance. Normally doctors recommend active surveillance in BPH. Doctors prescribe just common medicine according to the symptoms.

If symptoms become worse or the prostate gland continues to enlarge then the doctor will choose another treatment option.

Medicine therapy

 Certain medicines are used to manage the symptoms of BPH. These medicines include:


These medicines are prescribed to relax the muscles in the prostate gland and sphincter muscle of the urinary bladder to improve the flow of urine and reduce other urinary symptoms.

5-alpha-reductase inhibitors

These medicines either reduce or stop the secretion of a hormone that causes the growth of the prostate gland.

Combination therapy

If symptoms are not relieved with single therapy then a combination of alpha-blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors may be prescribed which is more effective than single therapy.

Minimally invasive Technique

If a patient is not responding to any therapy then minimally invasive procedures may be recommended. These procedures are:

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)

It is a surgical procedure in which that part of the prostate gland is removed which blocked the urethra by using a special instrument. 

Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA)

It is a procedure in which that part of the prostate gland is destroyed which blocked the urethra through radio waves.  

Laser therapy

In this therapy, a laser is used to destroy prostate tissue that blocked the urethra.


Usually, surgery is the last option, when the patient is not responding to any therapy or the prostate gland is very large.

The most recommend surgery for BPH is prostatectomy, in which the whole gland is removed. A prostatectomy is usually performed when the size of the prostate gland is very large and symptoms are severe.

Prevention of enlarged prostate

  Here are some prevention tips that are necessary for every man, especially in old age.

Always at a healthy and balanced diet

A diet that is low in fat and high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables may help reduce the risk of an enlarged prostate.

A diet that is high in vegetables, fiber, and fruits and low in fat help reduces the risk of enlarged prostate. This type of diet will not only protect you from BPH but also from other lethal diseases.

Physical activities or regular exercise

Regular exercise, such as brisk walking, can help improve overall health and may reduce the risk of an enlarged prostate.

Active lifestyle and regular exercise potentially reduce the risk of enlarged prostate. There are many health benefits of exercise besides BPH. To perform exercise regularly to lead a healthy life.

Maintain normal body weight

Obesity has directly linked with an enlarged prostate. To reduce the risk of BPH keep your body weight normal and always checks your Body mass index (BMI).

Obesity and high body weight produce many health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, Hypertension, acid reflux, and many other diseases.

Reduce intake of alcohol and caffeine

Too much intake of alcohol and caffeine irritates the urinary bladder and worsens the symptoms of BPH.

Reduce fluid intake before your sleep (at night)

To reduce nighttime bathroom trips, men with an enlarged prostate should limit their fluid intake a few hours before bedtime.

If you have an enlarged prostate, then try to reduce your fluid intake at night time. Stop drinking water or other fluid two hours before bedtime. This is because some people retain urine in sleeping and retention of urine worsens the symptom of enlarged prostate.

Quit smoking

Smoking has been linked with enlarged prostate, so quitting smoking can reduce the risk of BPH.

Manage your stress

High level of stress causes inflammation in the body, especially in the prostate gland. Find out the ways to manage your stress. There are lots of ways through which you can reduce your stress such as yoga, walking, running, meditation, exercise, swimming, engaging in social activities, etc.

Talk to your healthcare provider

If you are experiencing any symptoms of BPH, then you should talk to your doctor because early diagnosis can ease the treatment. Regular checkups can detect any prostate gland problem.


when the size of the prostate gland grows then it is known as an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia. The prostate is a small gland that produces semen and nourishes the sperm.

Usually, people in old age experience the symptoms of enlarged prostate.

the common symptoms of enlarged prostate are trouble in pee, weak urine flow, dribbling, and erectile dysfunction.

 old age, family history, obesity, inflammation, and certain lifestyle factors are the main cause of enlarged prostate.


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