Posts Tagged ‘Benign prostatic hyperplasia

If You Suffer From Prostate Enlargement… Here’s What You Need To Know

 

 

 

Enlarged ProstateProstate enlargement is one of the most common health problems men experience. In fact, if you are a man over the age of 45, there’s a 50 percent chance you already suffer from it! Medically, it’s known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), both of which are just medical jargon for an enlarged prostate.

Studies show that approximately 50 percent of men over the age of 45 have BPH, and according to the National Institute on Aging, by age 70 that figure rises as high as 90 percent. Over 10 million American men suffer from an enlarged prostate! Between 9 and 12 million men with BPH have symptoms so severe they must seek medical treatment, and one out of four undergo surgery.

So, what causes prostate enlargement?

Though many factors come into play, the hormonal changes that occur as men age are a primary cause of prostate enlargement.

Around the age of forty-five, men’s levels of testosterone in the blood plummet and levels of other hormones, such as prolactin and estradiol, increase. The end result of these changes is an increase of a very potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT in the prostate gland. Leading scientists say DHT is the prime culprit that stimulates an over-production of prostate cells, which leads to an enlarged prostate.

As the prostate enlarges, it pinches the diameter of the urethra, partially blocking it, which in turn puts pressure on the bladder. Imagine putting a kink in a garden hose, and you’ll get the picture. The pressure weakens or stops the flow of urine. The same thing happens when the urethra is blocked. The urine stream is lessened, and the bladder is unable to empty com- pletely.

Eventually the backed up pressure can severely weaken and damage the bladder. Bacteria breed in the stagnant urine that isn’t passed and the bladder may become infected. The kidneys can also be dangerously affected by a resulting increase in pressure when the bladder can’t be properly emptied, much as household plumbing backs up when there is an obstruction in the system. Infections in the bladder can easily be transmitted to the kidneys.

The most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate are difficulties with urination, and sexual function can be affected as well. One of the most noticeable symptoms is the need to pass urine frequently, a problem that becomes increasingly more troublesome with time.

Many men with enlarged prostates find their sleep disrupted by having to get up several times at night to urinate. Added to that is the frustration of having difficulty starting or stopping the urine flow, and dribbling or even incontinence. Pain and burning are additional symptoms, and there may be blood in the urine.

It’s possible to have an enlarged prostate and not be aware of it because no noticeable symptoms have yet surfaced. However, symptoms can occur suddenly and dramatically√≥ for example being unable to urinate at all. This is a condition known as acute urinary retention, which can be brought on by a number of factors, one of which is alcohol. Some common over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines can also trigger this condition, because they contain ingredients that prevent the bladder from emptying.

There are urgent reasons to get prostate enlargement under control. If allowed to go on too long, it can cause serious health problems, including permanent bladder and kidney damage, urinary infections and incontinence. It is important to treat BPH early to lower the risk of complications. There are several examinations to detect prostate enlargement. For convenience, some of these are referred to by their initials.

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Benign Prostate Hyperplasia – The Cause Remains A Mystery

 

 

 

Each day a huge number of men (something in the region of 13,000 in the US alone) call to see their doctor with a variety of problems associated with urination and come away having been told that they are suffering from an enlarged prostate.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, to give it its proper medical names, is an extremely common and treatable problem seen in many men over the age of 65 and is suffered by as many as half of all men in their sixties and ninety percent of men in their seventies and eighties.

But what causes this condition which is a simple part of the natural aging process and is as common as your hair turning grey with age?

The simple answer is that, despite all the advances in modern medicine, we don’t know. We do, however, have enough evidence to start to unravel the mystery.

Men are more likely to suffer from BPH if their father, or a brother, has suffered from an enlarged prostate. This suggests that there is, at least in part, a genetic component to the problem.

One theory here is that genetic instructions given to the cells of the prostate to control its growth during puberty are again activated in later life and either cause further growth in their own right or make the cells of the prostate more sensitive to hormones which promote growth.

We also know that men who have their testes removed at an early age (before puberty) do not suffer from BHP. There is therefore a link between the aging of the testes and the development of an enlarged prostate.

Although the exact role played by the testes is not clear we know that men produce both the male hormone testosterone and small quantities of the female hormone estrogen throughout life. With increasing age however the quantity of testosterone present in the blood decreases although the level of estrogen does not fall in the same proportion. The theory, supported to some extent by research carried out on animals, is that the higher proportion of estrogen present in the prostate promotes the activity of other hormones which are responsible for cell growth.

Although this theory has been around for some time now researchers have found it somewhat difficult to explain satisfactorily the link between the theory and the fact that the removal of the testes before puberty results in a failure to develop the problem of an enlarged prostate.

The final, and perhaps at present most credible, theory is that an enlarged prostate is caused by the presence of a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

We know that DHT plays a crucial role in the development of the sex organs during pregnancy and that it is also largely responsible for the development of facial hair, the deepening of the voice and the development of the prostate during puberty.

DHT is derived from testosterone and is found in the prostate where it is believed to play a role in the growth of the prostate gland. However, as testosterone levels drop with age the body’s ability to produce DHT does not appear to diminish and indeed DHT accumulates in the prostate and continues to promote growth. It is also interesting to note that men who lose their ability to produce this hormone derived from testosterone do not develop enlarged prostate glands.

Although it may be some years yet before researchers uncover the exact cause of BPH. While it is almost certainly the result of hormonal changes resulting from the aging process, the precise nature of these changes and the effects which they trigger remain something of a mystery today.

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