Q:

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia characterized by?

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Quick Answer

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is characterized by problems emptying the bladder at urination or problems with urine storage. The condition occurs when there is an overproduction of cells that form large nodules in the periurethral region of the prostate.

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Full Answer

Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), is a condition marked by a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. The gland grows due to an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is synthesized by an enzyme located in the stromal cells of the prostate. Both epithelial and stromal cell production increases during the BPH process, causing large nodules to grow.

In its early stages, BPH causes no symptoms but as the nodules continue to grow, it may compress the urethra, thus restricting the flow of urine, according to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Other symptoms include

  • Desire to urinate frequently
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  • Slow urine flow
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  • Urgent need to urinate
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  • Trouble starting urine flow
 

The prostate gland itself undergoes two periods of growth: the first during puberty, when the gland may double in size; and the second during young adulthood, often around the age of 25. The gland continues to grow during a man's lifetime and in later years may lead to BPH.

The condition of BPH may also cause a marked increase in the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), resulting in levels two or three times the norm. In this case, the high PSA is not an indicator of cancer but may indicate an increased chance of having cancer. Men with BPH may have undetected prostate cancer or may develop it. While some symptoms of cancer and BPH are similar, there is no greater risk to men with BPH for developing cancer.

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