Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (technically a misnomer), benign enlargement of the prostate (BEP), and adenofibromyomatous hyperplasia, refers to the increase in size of the prostate in elderly men.
To be accurate, the process is one of hyperplasia rather than hypertrophy, but the nomenclature is often interchangeable, even amongst urologists. It is characterized by hyperplasia of prostatic stromal and epithelial cells, resulting in the formation of large, fairly discrete nodules in the periurethral region of the prostate. When sufficiently large, the nodules compress the urethral canal to cause partial, or sometimes virtually complete, obstruction of the urethra, which interferes the normal flow of urine. It leads to symptoms of urinary hesitancy, frequent urination, dysuria (painful urination), increased risk of urinary tract infections, and urinary retention. Although prostate specific antigen levels may be elevated in these patients because of increased organ volume and inflammation due to urinary tract infections, BPH is not considered to be a premalignant lesion.
Adenomatous prostatic growth is believed to begin at approximately age 30 years. An estimated 50% of men have histologic evidence of BPH by age 50 years and 75% by age 80 years. In 40-50% of these patients, BPH becomes clinically significant.
Signs and symptoms
Benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms are classified as storage or voiding.
Storage symptoms include urinary frequency, urgency (compelling need to void that cannot be deferred), urgency incontinence, and voiding at night (nocturia).
Voiding symptoms include weak urinary stream, hesitancy (needing to wait for the stream to begin), intermittency (when the stream starts and stops intermittently), straining to void, and dribbling. Pain and dysuria are usually not present. These storage and voiding symptoms are evaluated using the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) questionnaire, designed to assess the severity of BPH.
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