Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
What is BPH?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH for short, is a condition in which the prostate gland gradually enlarges over time. This is a common occurrence in older men, and in many cases is nothing to be overly concerned about. The prostate actually starts enlarging in a man’s early 30’s, but does not often progress to the stage where the man will display symptoms until he nears or passes his 50’s.
Symptoms are often mild enough that they can be tolerated and lived with, though they can certainly prove rather annoying. BPH can also grow to be far more severe in some men though, and in these cases, there’s no choice but to take steps to either lessen the size of the prostate gland, or counter the effects that enlarged gland can have in other ways.
What this enlargement of the prostate does is compress the pathways of the urethra, making the pathways less suitable for carrying the urine from the bladder, through the middle of the prostate gland, and finally to the penis.
Causes of BPH
The causes of BPH are mostly related to the natural growth cycle of men. Testosterone gets converted into DHT (think of it as a more powerful form of testosterone), and this DHT can then travel into the prostate, which speeds up its natural growth. Most men convert 5% of their testosterone into DHT. Men who have had their testicles (where testosterone is produced) removed early in their lives, have a much lower incidence rate of BPH as a result; in fact it’s quite rare in these men.
Other than the DHT connection, there are no other known causes that can lead to BPH, and therefore, no real way to prevent its occurrence either, short of taking a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor before BPH every strikes. This inhibitor prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT, and therefore stops excess prostate growth.
BPH Tests and Diagnosis
There are several tests and procedures which can help lead to a positive diagnosis of BPH. Men suffering from any form of urinary problems may be asked to fill out the AUA Prostate Symptom Index questionnaire, a series of 7 graded
By textbook definition Prostatitis is defined as the infection of the prostate. Other times, it is also defined as an inflammation with nary a sign of infection. This is the kind of infection that can affect men of all ages: from young ones to middle aged males. One might get Prostatitis if fits into the followings categories:
has an enlarged prostate gland
has had an infection of the bladder recently
has an unconventional urinary tract
has engaged in anal sex
is often engaged in heavy lifting
bicycle on a regular basis
If you may have done or experienced one of these, you run the risk of getting Prostatitis.
What are Prostatitis symptoms?
Knowing and recognizing the symptoms of any affliction is the first step, and many doctors would say one of the most important steps is early detection and treatment. This can make all the difference in preventing the affliction from growing and worsening, which can happen often quicker than you ever imagine.
When it comes to Prostatitis symptoms, these can vary in severity and based on the type of Prostatitis that is present. Because some of the symptoms can commonly be mistaken for other maladies, diagnosing Prostatitis often comes down to a case of eliminating more common afflictions first.
Let’s start with the three main variations of Prostatitis, which are Acute Bacterial Prostatitis (ABP), Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis (CBP), and Non-bacterial Prostatitis (NBP). All of these variations of Prostatitis have the same general afflictions, listed below:
An inability to empty the bladder
Lower back pain
Pain in the pelvic area during urination
Pain when ejaculating
As you can see from the list, many Prostatitis symptoms are common in other medical issues as well. The presence of any of the symptoms related to urination or ejaculation would be the clearest signs that the issue is prostate-related, and could be Prostatitis.
These Prostatitis symptoms are shared between the three variations of Prostatitis described above, though of the three, ABP features far more severe symptoms than the other two, and may even require hospitalization in the worse cases, along with more focused treatment. Unlike ABP and CPB, which are caused by bacteria, NBP is not caused by bacteria, and the causes currently aren’t fully understood, though the symptoms are the same as Bacterial Prostatitis and in particular, the severe CBP.
Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis
CBP or more commonly known as pelvic pain, also comes with many different names. This condition comes with two different classifications -the inflammatory and the non-inflammatory. The main sign and symptom for the CBP are the recurrent pelvic pain without the diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection persisting for more than 90 days. Painful urination, unexplained fatigue, abdominal pain, constant burning pain in the penis, arthralgia and frequent urination The symptoms may vary, just as the pain intensity, depending on the person and it can also be misinterpreted as a symptom for a different condition. Sometimes the pain can also reach the back and rectum – in this case sitting becomes agonizing. Another key symptom is the unpleasant sensation on post ejaculation which differentiates the men with CBP.
Furthermore the cause of Chronic Prostatitis is due to interpolate between psychological factors and immune, endocrine and neurological system complications. Anxious or nervous psychological characteristic of a person can lead to pelvic tensing, which in turn becomes inflammation – a process mediated by substances released by nerve cells. Sometimes inflammation can spread to other areas such as the bladder, urethra and testicles. Often climate can complicate this condition, specifically the cold, or as some believe, even be the ultimate cause, however there is no evidence to support such claims.
Acute Bacterial Prostatitis (ABP)
Similar to CBP as far as symptoms and causes go, ABP is characterized by much stronger and more intense symptoms than CBP. The symptoms will often progress so quickly, and be so severe that a trip to the hospital will be in order.
Non-Bacterial Prostatitis (NBP)
NBP has the same symptoms as CBP, though medical professionals are still unsure of what causes it.
Pelvic Floor Myalgia (PFM)
PFM, also known as Prostatodynia, is the easiest prostate affliction to diagnose, as its symptoms are few and quite specific to PFM. The main symptom is pain in the prostate, and this pain is often severe enough for the recipient to seek out immediate medical attention. Pain may not be located solely in the prostate though, and could also be present in the scrotum, lower back, and pelvic region.
Another common symptom of PFM is difficulty urinating. This can manifest in the form of a weak urine stream, and often leads to pain while urinating as well. Pain may also be present while ejaculating, and while passing stool. Like NPB, the causes behind the formation of PFM are not known, however this condition is often found in those who have poor fitness levels, specifically poor posture and deconditioned abdominal muscles.
Now that you know the symptoms, you should be better prepared to recognize and fight back against Prostitutes in its various forms at the first sign of trouble. Better yet take all the preventative measures to unsure trouble never comes!
Click here to read about Prostatitis Treatments
questions which can give the doctor a better idea of what may be causing said problems. If the doctor suspects BPH, the easiest way for them to test for it is to perform a digital rectal exam, during which they can actually feel the size of the prostate gland for themselves. While the thought of undergoing the rectal exam is not a pleasant one for men who haven’t yet gone through it, the reality is probably not quite as bad as the mind’s conjured images would have us believe. It usually takes no more than a minute, and the actual process should not result in any undo discomfort.
Lastly, blood tests and PSA (prostate specific antigen) tests should be able to confirm that the condition is indeed BPH, and not prostate cancer. These tests are designed to measure the amount of PSA in the blood, as highly elevated PSA levels usually indicate BPH, while normal levels are more commonly associated with prostate cancer.
This test can produce false positive and false negative results though, and is not a guarantee of complete accuracy. Because of this, tests that generate a high PSA count will usually lead the doctor to order further tests to help conclusively rule out prostate cancer before they declare the condition as BPH. A biopsy is usually ordered to take care of this stage of the testing.
DHT, BPH and MPB – Oh My!
There’s also an interesting connection between BPH and male pattern baldness. Both of these conditions result from the same process, which is the formation of DHT. In the case of BPH, the DHT is traveling to the prostate gland and spurring growth. In the case of male pattern baldness, the DHT travels to the hair follicle and attaches itself to it, which prevents nutrients from reaching the hair. The hair strand eventually falls out of the follicle, which shrinks and dies.
Studies have now shown a definite connection between both MPB and BPH. Men with early signs of MPB were shown in the study to have a much higher incidence rate of BPH than those who weren’t displaying early signs of MPB. The men with MPB also had a weaker urine stream, suggesting their prostates had already begun to expand and pinch off the urethra pathway.
So if you want to know your chances of developing BPH, your hair may be a great early indicator of the likelihood of that happening, as it could be a definite sign that your body is converting more testosterone into DHT than may be needed.
If not treated BPH symptoms may continue to worsen, and this could lead to further complications and more serious health issues, though this is uncommon. Only 10% of men out of the 50% that end up getting BPH end up needing a medical or surgical procedure done.
The most notable of these complications is acute urinary retention, which signals the complete blockage of the urethra and an inability to urinate. Surgery is needed to correct this issue, either by expanding the urethra pathway, or by shrinking the size of the prostate gland.
Potential complications from BPH treatments can also arise. Using alpha blockers can lead to headaches and fatigue. Using 5-alpha reductase inhibitors to treat the condition could lead to decreased libido and the resultant loss of interest in sex, as well as problems while ejaculating. It could even lead to sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction.
Surgical treatment options can also lead to numerous complications and side effects, such as blood in the urine, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and incontinence (loss of urinary control). These side effects will often clear up after several weeks have passed, but they may persist indefinitely in some men.