What is Benign Enlargement of the Prostate?

If men have problems urinating, it may be due to benign prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH). More about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and therapy

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Benign prostate enlargement - in short

An enlarged prostate gland can cause problems when urinating, such as an increased urge to urinate at night, a weakened urine stream, or a delayed urination. There are different treatment approaches from waiting and medication to different surgical techniques. Patients should clarify with their doctor which ones are suitable and promising in their case.

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical term for a benign enlargement of the prostate gland. Another term that is rarely used for this is "prostate adenoma".

The prostate gland is a small, chestnut-sized gland located below the urinary bladder. It encloses the urethra in men like a ring. Together with the seminal vesicles and testicles, the prostate is responsible for the formation of seminal fluid.

As early as the age of 35, the prostate gland can gradually increase in volume. From the age of 75, almost all men have a benign enlargement of the prostate. However, the mere enlargement of the prostate is not yet to be regarded as a disease; this can be compared, for example, with a big nose, which also has no disease value.

OUR EXPERT: Professor Dr. med. Christian step

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Often, however, it is precisely the parts of the gland that surround the urethra that enlarge. One possible consequence: the urethra is gradually narrowed (see graphic above). This can lead to discomfort when urinating - and thus to benign prostate enlargement that requires treatment (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH).

Urination problems are the most common benign disease in older men. The prostate does not always have to be enlarged. Difficulty urinating, so-called "Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms" (LUTS), also occur in men without an enlarged prostate gland. Difficulty urinating includes both urinary bladder retention and urination disorders. Urinary storage disorders are divided into frequent urination during the day (pollakiuria), nocturnal urination (nocturia) and an attack-like need to empty the bladder (imperative urination or primary symptoms) with or without incontinence.

OUR EXPERT: Professor Dr. med. Christian Gratzke

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Because the symptoms are similar, benign prostate enlargement, LUTS and a narrowing of the bladder outlet, which also causes urination discomfort and is sometimes caused by enlarged prostate, are now often summarized as "Beningnes Prostate Syndrome (BPS)".

Urinary bladder emptying disorders due to benign prostate enlargement are usually characterized by symptoms such as a delayed start of urination, a weakening of the urine stream, prolonged urination and a feeling of residual urine.

Since there can be various illnesses behind urination problems, it is important to have the symptoms clarified with your doctor at an early stage. Standardized questionnaires, ultrasound examinations and special urological examination methods help to secure the diagnosis and assess the extent of the disease.

Warning: the benign enlargement of the prostate has nothing to do with prostate cancer and must be clearly distinguished from this disease! You can find out more about prostate cancer in the Prostate Cancer Guide.

Important NOTE:
This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor. Unfortunately, our experts cannot answer individual questions.

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