Benign prostatic hyperplasia

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), affects almost all men aged 50 or over. With BPH, there is an overgrowth of prostate tissue that pushes against the urethra and the bladder, restricting the flow of urine. It is important to remember that the ‘B’ in BPH stands for benign, BPH is not cancer2.


An enlarged prostate alone may or may not cause symptoms (the size of the prostate is not indicative of the degree of urinary symptoms). However, the degree of bothersome symptoms is the most common reason men seek treatment.

The most common of which is an increased difficulty urinating such as:

  • A weak or slow urinary stream
  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Getting up frequently at night to urinate
  • A urinary stream that starts and stops
  • Straining to urinate
  • Continued dribbling of urine
  • Returning to urinate again minutes after finishing2

Common diagnosis options

The severity and type of symptoms you have and how much they bother you or impact your life are all facts that will help a doctor diagnose a patient. A simple questionnaire called the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) is a common starting point2.

A patient voluntarily empties his baldder, and the amount and speed of urine flow are measured. A special device can help physicinas detect reduced uring flow associated with BPH2.

The Digital Rectum Exam (DRE) test is performed by the Urologist who will use their gloved index finger to feel your prostate through the rectal wall to assess the size, shape and stiffness of your prostate1.

Prostate Specific Antigen Test (PSA) is a protein made b prostate tissue. The amount of PSA measured in your blood normally increases with age and prostate size, but abnormally high levels may indicate the need for additional testing1.

1. National Cancer Institute. (2011, August). Understanding Prostate Changes. Retrieved:

2.American Cancer Society. (2015, March 12). Prostate Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society. Retrieved:

3.Rukstalis, D. B. (2002). Treatment options after failure of radiation therapy—a review. Reviews in urology, 4(Suppl 2), S12. Retrieved:

4.National Cancer Institute. (2019, June 12). Prostate Cancer Treatment. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved: (2019, May 01). Brachytherapy. for Patients. Retrieved:

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