Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH, Enlarged Prostate)

  • Medical Author: Glenn Gerber, MD
  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

When does benign prostatic hyperplasia start?

BPH generally begins in a man's 30s, evolves slowly, and most commonly only causes symptoms after 50.

What happens in BPH? What are symptoms of BPH?

In benign prostatic hyperplasia, the prostate gland grows in size. It may compress the urethra which courses through the center of the prostate. This can impede the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra to the outside. It can cause urine to back up in the bladder (retention) leading to the need to urinate frequently during the day and night. Other common symptoms include a slow flow of urine, the need to urinate urgently and difficulty starting the urinary stream. More serious problems include urinary tract infections and complete blockage of the urethra, which may be a medical emergency and can lead injury to the kidneys.

Male Torso Picture - Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Male Torso Picture - Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

How common is BPH? Are there any risk factors?

BPH is extremely common. Advanced age is a risk factor for an enlarged prostate. Half of all men over 50 develop symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, but only 10% need medical or surgical intervention.

Is BPH a type of cancer?

No! BPH is completely benign. It is not a precursor (a forerunner) to prostate cancer.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/25/2016
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Quiz: Test Your BPH IQ

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Men's Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors