What happens to your body when you start ageing?
Ageing is an inevitable change we can’t always control. It’s normal for most men to experience a lot of changes in their body system as they grow old. One of such changes in men may involve the enlargement of the prostate; which at some point can lead to a health condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Benign prostatic hyperplasia can significantly affect a man’s sexual life and general health if left untreated.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous growth of the prostate gland, or the voiding dysfunction resulting from prostatic enlargement and bladder outlet obstruction in older men.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia occurs when a firm partly muscular walnut-sized gland at the neck of the urethra; which produces a viscid secretion (semen) begins to multiply, thus making the prostate enlarged. When this happens, the prostate constringes the urethra and hamper the free flow of urine through the urethra, hence leading to lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and other severe urinary problems.
Benign means “not cancer” and hyperplasia means abnormal cell growth. However, benign prostatic hyperplasia is a highly prevalent disease in older men with substantial adverse effects on public health.
Who is at risk?
The number of men with BPH increases progressively with age. According to American Urological Association, BPH starts to develop in men before age 30 with almost 10% of men having histologic evidence of BPH by 40 years of age, and 50% of men showing evidence by age 60. Overall, nearly 80% of men will develop BPH, and as many as 30% will receive treatment for it.
In studies that examine the natural history of BPH, the incidence of acute urinary retention or the development of a significant post-void residual urinary volume is 2% per year. Although BPH is seldom life-threatening, it significantly impacts patient quality of life. Thus, the burden of BPH on the healthcare system is substantial.
© Merit Medical, Used With Permission.
What’s The Cause of BPH?
While doctors are yet to figure out the exact cause of BPH, it’s believed that changes in male sex hormones as they grow old can be a significant factor. More so, it’s also thought that BPH is hereditary. If you have a long family history of prostate problems, you’re more likely to develop BPH earlier than the average man.
What does the research say?
- Men older than 40 years are more likely to develop BPH
- Obesity and lack of physical exercise can lead to BPH
- Type II diabetes, heart and circulatory disease, and obesity are linked to BPH
- Men with male relatives who have enlarged prostates are more at risk for developing symptoms
- More than 80% of men 80 years or older have BPH
- Krista, A. R., Arnold, K. B., Schenk, J. M., Neuhouser, M. L., Weiss, N., Goodman, P., Antvelink, C. M., Penson, D. F., & Thompson, I. M. (2007). Race/ethnicity, obesity, health-related behaviours and the risk of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia: results from the prostate cancer prevention trial. The Journal of Urology, 177(4): 1395-1400.
- Harkaway RC, Issa MM. Medical and minimally invasive therapies for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2006;9(3):204-14. Epub 2006 Jun 6