Benign prostatic hypertrophy

What is benign prostatic hypertrophy?

Benign prostatic hypertrophy occurs when the size of the prostate gland increases due to a hormonal imbalance in men. The prostate is the male sex gland that surrounds the urethra, is located below the bladder and above the rectum, and is responsible for producing seminal fluid. It is a very common pathology in men over 50 years of age, affecting their quality of life.

Prostate enlargement causes bothersome urinary symptoms, which affect the patient’s quality of life.

Prognosis of the disease

Enlargement of the prostate or benign prostatic hypertrophy is a very common pathology in men from middle age onwards, it is not a serious disease and does not increase the risk of prostate cancer, the other pathology that usually affects this gland. The main problem it causes is that its symptomatology is very annoying for the patient, even disabling.

Even so, the prognosis of the disease is positive with the indicated treatment, although it may reappear with the passage of time. Each case of hypertrophy will require appropriate follow-up by the urologist.

Symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy

Among the symptoms, which appear progressively, we find:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Difficulty urinating
  • More frequent urination
  • Compelling sensation to urinate
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Need to urinate several times at night
  • Painful urination
  • Bloody urine

In severe cases, prostatic hypertrophy can lead to complete inability to urinate, urinary tract infections, or impaired kidney function.

Medical tests for benign prostatic hypertrophy

In the presence of one or more of the above symptoms, the urologist specialist will assess the patient’s medical history, study the severity of his symptoms and perform a digital rectal examination to assess the state of the prostate. Clinical tests such as urinalysis to rule out infection or blood tests to look at the prostate specific antigen (PSA) and rule out prostate cancer may also be required.

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What are the causes of benign prostatic hypertrophy?

Although there is no known direct cause or risk factors for benign prostatic hypertrophy, it occurs when the size of the prostate gland increases due to a hormonal imbalance in the testes: female hormones (estrogen) increase over male hormones (testosterone).

Can it be prevented?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia cannot be prevented, but it is possible to detect it in its initial stage through regular check-ups at the urologist’s office. Specialists recommend checking the prostate annually after the age of 50, the age at which the risk of prostate enlargement begins to be felt.

Treatments for benign prostatic hypertrophy

When the symptoms are mild, the specialist may prescribe medication and lifestyle changes (such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine, practicing sports and adapting urination routines).

In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Operations for benign prostatic hyperplasia are usually:

  • Transurethral resection of the prostate: this is the most common technique, in which the prostate is removed by means of an endoscope inserted through the penis.
  • Simple prostatectomy: the inner part of the prostate is removed through an incision in the abdomen.
  • Prostate laser: the most recent technique, the destruction of the tissue is performed by laser, in a less invasive way.

What specialist treats it?

The urologist is the specialist in charge of prostate pathology, such as hypertrophy. Due to the symptomatology of urinary problems, it is possible that the andrologist is the one who makes the diagnosis, although there are also general surgeons who specialize in these interventions.