Benign prostatic hyperplasia is an enlarged prostate. The prostate goes through two growth cycles in a man’s life – at birth and then again at puberty. BPH may occur during the second growth cycle as the prostate continues to grow over the course of a man’s life. As the prostate grows larger, it can squeeze down on the urethra causing the bladder to weaken. This causes a small amount of urine to remain in the bladder upon urination.
Symptoms of BPH include:
- frequent or urgent need to urinate
- frequent urination at night
- difficulty starting and finishing urination
- weak stream of urination
- inability to fully empty the bladder
- urinary tract infection (UTI)
- possible blood in urine
There are several options for treating BPH including medications and non-invasive therapies. BPH left untreated may lead to a series of further complications such as bladder stones, bladder damage, and kidney damage. Bladder stones are generally caused from the inability to fully empty the bladder. This can lead to infection, irritation, obstruction to the flow of urine, and possibly blood in the urine. Bladder damage arises from the stretching and weakening of the bladder when it has not been fully emptied. As the bladder weakens it not longer allows the muscles to contract properly, leaving further urine in the bladder. Urinary retention thus directly impacts the kidneys as pressure from the bladder can lead to kidney infection and irritation.