Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Or Swollen Prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia - BPH - is the medical term for a swollen prostate (enlarged prostate).

The word "hyperplasia" means enlargement. "Benign" is used when the prostate enlargement is not caused by cancer or infection.

In males, the prostate goes through two main periods of growth. The first occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size. At around age 25, the prostate gland begins to grow again. This natural growth of the prostate doesn't usually cause problems. (It shouldn’t.)

Yet, for many men, it does. BPH is the most common of all prostate disorders in men.

swollen prostate, enlarged prostate, bph As the prostate becomes enlarged, the layer of tissue surrounding it stops it from expanding. This causes the prostate to press against the urethra like a clamp pinching on a garden hose.

This 'choking' of the urethra (within the swollen prostate, see diagram) can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as these:

  • Flow of urine is slower and less forceful

  • Frequent urge to urinate

  • Urination starts and stops

  • The need to get up to urinate two or more times a night

  • Difficulty emptying your bladder

BPH not only diminish the quality of life, but also causes serious problems over time. For example, the retention of urine and strain on the bladder can lead to urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and urinary incontinence.

In Western countries, it is estimated that more than 50% of the men who are 60 years of age have swollen prostates. In the United States alone, there were 4.5 million visits to physicians for BPH in 2000.

Sadly, for all the modern drugs it has at its disposal to treat the symptoms of BPH, the medical establishment still has no clue to the underlying cause of BPH. It shows in the language used to describe this prostate problem…

"PH is not well understood. No definite information on risk factors

"Another theory focuses on dihydrotestosterone (DHT)…"

"Some researchers suggest that BPH may develop as a result of 'instructions' given to cells early in life…"

They would do well to examine the toileting habits of Chinese, Indian and Japanese men, as highlighted in the Prostate Problems section.

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