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Mental Health

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (or Hypertrophy)

by Jacqueline Todorov

This month, because the issue is dedicated to Saint Joseph, the editor wanted to have a look at men's diseases and afflictions. For this first article I will be covering a common problem for men over fifty. BPH is not a cancer. It is an enlargement of the prostate gland.

The prostate gland is still surrounded in mystery. It's full function is still under investigation ( and men thought women were the secretive ones). It consists of 5 lobes and is located above and back of the scrotum, along the rectal wall. It is the dam between the flow of urine and the propulsion of semen. It also (probably) mixes in other fluids that are required for sperm nutrition and survival. It surrounds the urethra. This is why when enlargement occurs men have difficulty with urination and ejaculation.

Enlargement occurs in most men after the age of 45. There are a few reasons for this. The most common is a disturbance in the hormone levels. Other reasons may include arteriosclerosis, inflammation, and metabolic or nutritional disturbances.

Whatever the cause, BPH begins with changes in the glandular tissue that surrounds the urethra. As the prostate enlarges, it may extend into the bladder and obstruct urinary outflow by compressing or distorting the prostatic urethra. BPH may also cause a pocket in the bladder that cannot be emptied on voiding, thereby increasing the risk of kidney stones, bladder and kidney infections.

Signs and symptoms:

The clinical manefestations of BPH depend on the extent of prostatic enlargement and the lobes affected. It typically begins with decreased size and increased force of the urine stream. Trouble "getting started" when voiding, felling of "still having to go" when finished and a stop and go flow when urinating. As obstruction increases, it causes frequent urination, including extra trips in the night, dribbling, urine retention, incontinence, and possibly blood in the urine. As BPH worsens, complete obstruction may follow infection or use of decongestants, tranquilizers, alcohol, antidepressants, or some other medications.

Complications include infection, renal insufficiency, hemorrhage, and shock.

Diagnosis is made by rectal examination as the prostate gland may be felt through the rectal wall. A urine sample will reveal any blood in the urine and the level of functioning of the kidneys. A blood sample may also be taken.

BPH in it's milder forms may be treated effectively with medications.

If you or someone in your family is having difficulty with urination it is important that you seek medical help. DO NOT DELAY TREATMENT.

For more information about Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, the prostate and its function, I recommend these sites:

Any questions?? mail me c/o The Editor.In 2 weeks I will discuss Cancer of the prostate.

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