Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland. It commonly occurs as men age. It can contribute to bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).
The prostate goes through two main growth cycles during a man’s life. The first occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase of growth starts around age 25 and goes on for most of the rest of a man’s life. BPH most often occurs during this second growth phase.
As the prostate enlarges, it presses against the urethra. The bladder wall becomes thicker. One day, the bladder may weaken and lose the ability to empty fully, leaving some urine in the bladder. Narrowing of the urethra and urinary retention – being unable to empty the bladder fully – cause many of the problems of BPH.
BPH is benign. This means it is not cancer. It does not cause or lead to cancer. However, BPH and cancer can happen at the same time.
BPH is common. About half of all men between ages 51 and 60 have BPH. Up to 90% of men over age 80 have it.