Enlarged Prostate Portland | Men's Health Oregon City
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Diagnosis / Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Many men are aware that as they age, they are at a higher risk for issues involving their prostate, especially enlargement. The medical term for an enlarged prostate is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and it is a condition that affects nearly three million men in the United States each year.

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a vital part of the male reproductive system. In adult men, a normal sized prostate is about the size of a walnut – double the size that it was before puberty, when it went through the first of two main growth phases. The second growth phase occurs around age 25, and continues throughout most of a man’s life.

The prostate is located below the bladder, and in front of the rectum. The urethra, which carries urine and semen from the body, runs through the center of the prostate. The primary function of the prostate is to make the fluid that mixes with semen.

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

Because the prostate continues to grow throughout your lifetime, BPH is a common condition – almost 50 percent of men between age 51 and 60 suffer from it, and that number jumps to 90 percent in men who are over the age of 80.

If your prostate is enlarged, it can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. As it enlarges, the prostate can put pressure on your urethra, causing the bladder wall to become thicker and the flow of urine to slow. Over time, the bladder can weaken and eventually you may lose the ability to completely empty your bladder, leaving you uncomfortable and prone to bladder, kidney and urinary tract issues.

It is not known what causes BPH; though doctors think it may be a result of changes in the balance of testosterone as men age. The important thing to remember about BPH is that it is a benign condition. It is not cancer, nor is it a precursor to cancer.

Symptoms of BPH

Symptoms of BPH can vary, and are not necessarily affected by the size of your prostate. Significant symptoms can appear in men whose prostates are only slightly enlarged, while men with much larger prostates may have only minor symptoms. Some issues you may experience include:


Less common and potentially more serious symptoms include:

  • Inability to urinate
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Blood in your urine

As with most medical conditions, symptoms vary in severity, though if you have BPH, symptoms will typically worsen gradually if left untreated.

Risk Factors for BPH

Again, while doctors are not entirely sure of the cause of BPH, there are several factors that seem to increase your risk of developing it, including:

  • Age – BPH usually does not affect men under the age of 40
  • Genetics – If you have an immediate family member with BPH (brother, father) your risk increases
  • Lifestyle – exercising can lower your risk, while obesity increases it
  • Medical conditions – some conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, and the associated medications to treat them may increase your risk for BPH

If you have any of the above risk factors, it may be time to see your doctor and talk about preventative care or treatment.

Complications of BPH

BPH is a treatable condition, but if left untreated, you may suffer from severe complications, including:

  • Urinary tract infections – if you cannot completely empty your bladder, you may be prone to frequent UTIs, which can lead to kidney issues and even the need for removal of part of your prostate.
  • Inability to urinate – if you are suddenly unable to urinate, you may need to have a catheter inserted to drain the urine, or surgery.
  • Kidney problems – if there is pressure in the bladder due to urinary retention, it can damage your kidneys. Additionally, urinary tract infections can move to the kidneys.
  • Bladder complications – bladder stones caused by urinary retention can cause irritation, infection and obstruction in the bladder. Additionally, urinary retention can also cause the bladder to stretch and weaken, resulting in even more trouble completely emptying the bladder.

Most men with BPH do not develop these complications, as they usually seek treatment. However, if left untreated, these complications can be serious and even life-threatening.


Call our office today at 503-612-0498, and put your prostate health first.

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