Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition where the prostate gets bigger. The prostate is a gland that sits under the bladder in men and forms part of the urethra (the tube between the bladder and the skin). This is a very common condition in older men. This enlargement of the prostate happens slowly and symptoms come on gradually. Symptoms are due to narrowing of the urethra caused by the enlarged prostate and include urination problems. Most people find the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia helpful in managing or curing their symptoms.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a very common condition. It most frequently affects men over 50 and becomes more common with age. Men with diabetes or prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) are more likely to develop this condition.


Typical symptoms include having to urinate more frequently (including frequently during the night), problems with starting urination (hesitancy), and a weak flow of urine. Symptoms are due to narrowing of the urethra (the tube between the bladder and skin) and being unable to completely empty the bladder.


Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and physical examination. It is common for a doctor to feel for an enlarged prostate by putting a finger into the anus and pushing on the wall of the rectum (a digital-rectal examination). Urine and blood tests to check kidney function might be helpful, especially for people who have severe symptoms. A blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) may be done, though benign prostatic hyperplasia is not the only cause of an increased PSA level.


Treatment for this condition can be with medications or with surgery. Some medications relax the prostate and bladder and widen the urethra, which improves the urinary symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Surgical procedures to treat this condition involve removing part or all of the prostate.


Treating prostatitis may help in preventing some cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Other names for benign prostatic hyperplasia

  • Benign enlargement of the prostate
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • BPH
  • Nodular hyperplasia of the prostate