BPH Patient Information Fact Sheet

What is BPH?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the name given to enlargement of the prostate gland. This enlargement is believed to be caused by the effects of male sex hormones. Rarely symptoms of BPH occur before the age of 40, but more than 50% of men in their sixties and as many as 90% in their seventies and eighties have some symptoms of BPH. Some men begin to have difficulty in passing urine because the enlarged prostate gland presses against the urethra, the tube leading from the bladder. This causes the urethra to narrow, obstructing urine flow from the body. Your doctor will check your symptoms, check the size of your prostate, and may carry out a blood test.

What is the prostate gland?
The prostate is a small gland found at the base of a man’s bladder. It is about the size of a chestnut and sits around the urethra, through which urine passes. The role of the prostate is not understood fully. It is believed to assist in the production of semen. 

What are the symptoms of BPH?

  • Having to rush to the toilet
  • Difficulty in starting to urinate
  • A weak stream of urine
  • Stopping and starting urinating
  • Dribbling in underwear
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Having to urinate more often
  • Feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly
  • Having to get up several times at night to urinate
  • Sudden inability to urinate

Is BPH a type of cancer?
BPH is not a type of cancer. Some of the symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer are similar, but having BPH does not mean that you have cancer of the prostate or that you will develop this type of cancer later on. However, if ever you notice blood in your urine or semen, you should tell your doctor.