The most common disease encountered by men in middle age is enlargement of prostate or benign (non-cancerous) prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In this condition, a gland called prostate, which is present just below the urinary bladder becomes enlarged. This enlarged prostate puts pressure on the urinary system leading to symptoms – urgency in urination, increased frequency of urination and weak urinary stream.
In most cases, BPH is because of hormonal imbalance with aging (often after 65 years of age), which results in overgrowth of prostate cells. Other causes of BPH are diabetes, cancerous growths, arteriosclerosis, inflammation, and metabolic or nutritional disturbances.
BPH may go unnoticed for longer period of time after its onset as it progresses gradually. Most men develop frequent urination, especially at night, as early symptom. Slowly and gradually, BPH progresses towards a condition known as bladder outlet obstruction (BOO), in which urine flow rate reduces, urine retention occurs as one can’t empty the bladder easily and there is weakening of urinary bladder muscles.
BPH is diagnosed by the doctors by taking detailed patient history, physical examination, abdominal examination, examination of male genitalia, array of laboratory tests (urine culture, CBC, blood sugar etc.), a blood test to detect PSA levels, and ultrasound. If BPH is not diagnosed and treated on time, it may develop chronic or acute urinary retention. In either of above situations, hospitalization catheterization and, often, prostate surgery are undertaken.
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