Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

The function of the prostate gland is uncertain. It secretes a thin, milky, slightly alkaline fluid that constitutes about 10%  of the seminal fluid, and makes the sperm more active.

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Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

The fluid contains various substances such as citric acid, zinc, acid phosphatase and prostaglandins, but the need for most of these substances in this location is not known.

The prostate gland is involved in three main conditions– prostatitis, benign enlargement and prostate cancer.

The effects of prostate enlargement usually begin to appear about the age of 55. About a quarter of men over 65 have moderate to severe symptoms from this cause.

Prostate enlargement is both a hyperplasia and a hypertrophy. In hyperplasia there is an actual increase in the number of cells in the organ. Hypertrophy means that cells themselves have got bigger. In benign enlargement the connective tissue and gland cells increase in number (hyperplasia) and the smooth muscle cells enlarge (hypertrophy).

The most important enlargement occurs mainly in the part of the gland surrounding the urethra, so that its effect is to compress and narrow the tube. As the gland gets bigger, the volume and force of the urine stream is reduced, so that it takes longer to empty the bladder.

In addition, the force required to push out the urine increases steadily. Eventually a point is reached at which the muscular wall of the bladder is not strong enough to achieve complete emptying.  Because some urine is always left in the bladder, it means that it fills up again more quickly.

Bacterial prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection. The cause of non-bacterial prostatitis is unknown.

The causes of benign enlargement and prostate cancer are also not clear.


Other sources of information for these topics.

Prostate Enlargement: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Provides basic information about the prostate gland and prostate enlargement. Describes symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) -- familydoctor.org
Information about benign prostatic hyperplasia from the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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