Benign prostatic hyperplasia

A senior man of African descent is indoors in a hospital room. He is watching his female doctor using a tablet computer. She is explaining a medication schedule to him.

5 facts to know about BPH

Spring 2021 Health Matters Newsletter

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in men in which an enlarged prostate gland causes problems with the urinary tract. It is also sometimes called benign prostatic hypertrophy. Here are five facts men (and the people who love them) should know about BPH:

1. BPH is not cancer. It also doesn’t appear to increase the risk of getting cancer. But the early symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer are the same. These include:

    • Frequent and urgent need to urinate, especially at night.
    • Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble.
    • A weak, slow, or stop-and-start urine stream.
    • Feeling like you have to urinate, even after you just did.
    • Small amounts of blood in the urine.

2. An enlarged prostate is very common in older men. About 50% of men have symptoms of BPH by age 60. About 90% of men have symptoms by age 85, according to the National Association for Continence. BPH is the most common prostate problem in men older than 50.

3. No one is sure what causes BPH. But it may be hormones. Men produce the male hormone testosterone and female hormone estrogen throughout their lives. As men age, the amount of testosterone goes down. This leaves a higher portion of estrogen. One theory holds that it’s this higher amount of estrogen that promotes growth of the prostate. A different theory focuses on dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Some men continue to produce high levels of DHT as they age, even as blood testosterone levels decline. This theory contends that these higher levels of DHT encourage prostate cell growth.

4. Certain risk factors make it more likely that a man will develop BPH.

    • Being 40 or older
    • Having type 2 diabetes
    • Having a family history of BPH
    • Not exercising
    • Having erectile dysfunction
    • Being obese
    • Having heart and circulatory disease

5. BPH can be treated. Treatment options for BPH include:

    • Lifestyle changes. These can include limiting liquids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and doing exercises that work the pelvic floor muscles.
    • Medicines to stop growth of or shrink the prostate. Or drugs to lessen symptoms.
    • Multiple types of minimally invasive procedures to relieve symptoms.
    • Surgery
    • Having erectile dysfunction
    • Being obese
    • Having heart and circulatory disease

If you suspect you have BPH, talk to your primary care provider. Relief is possible.

Contact the CMH Urology Clinic today at 503-338-4075 or visit

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