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Benign Hypertrophy of Prostate

Benign hypertrophy of prostate (BHP): What is it?

The prostate is a gland the size of a chestnut. It is only present in men, and it is situated under the bladder surrounding the urethra, the passageway that takes the urine to the outside. The gland produces seminal fluid, which is mixed with sperm to make semen.

With age, the gland may begin to grow - this happens to most men. The growth may eventually cause problems with urination, because the gland pinches off the urethra as it increases its size. The growth in itself is harmless and so an enlarged prostate is often called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is not cancer, and it does not raise the risk for prostate cancer. It occurs most often in men over the age of 60. Up to 30 per cent of men in their 70s have BPH that causes them symptoms.

Benign (i.e. not harmful or malignant) prostatic hyperplasia(enlargement) in some ways is the male equivalent of menopause. Its primary effect is a progressive decrease in the ability to empty the bladder as the prostate enlarges and applies pressure to the urethra. Retained urine from this obstruction at first can interfere with sleep as the sufferer wakes up in the middle of the night. At other times, pressure may make it impossible to properly control urine flow (incontinence).

Why does it occur?

The actual cause of prostate enlargement is unknown. Factors linked to aging and the testicles themselves may play a role in the growth of the gland. Men who have had their testicles removed at a young age (for example, as a result of testicular cancer) do not develop BPH. Similarly, if the testicles are removed after a man develops BPH, the prostate begins to shrink in size.

  • The likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate increases with age.
  • BPH is so common that it has been said all men will have an enlarged prostate if they live long enough.
  • A small amount of prostate enlargement is present in many men over age 40 and more than 90% of men over age 80.
  • No risk factors have been identified other than having normally functioning testicles.
  • Hormonic theory: as age advances, male hormones diminish, while estrogen does not. Tissues are enlarged due to predominance of estrogenic hormone. This is involuntary hyperplasia, like fibro adenoma of breast.
  • Neoplastic theory: benign neoplasm. It is composed of fibrous tissues, granular tissues and muscles and is known as fibro-myo-adenoma.

How is BPH recognized?

The enlargement of the prostate gland stretches and distorts the urethra and so obstructs the urine flow. Less than half of all men with BPH have symptoms of the disease, which include:

  • a weak or interrupted urinary stream. Several attempts to empty the bladder may be necessary. Urinary flow may be variable, weak, tends to stop and start, and dribble.
  • difficulty starting the urine flow, even when the bladder feels full.
  • a feeling that the bladder is not completely empty.
  • a need to urinate often during the day and during the night. Increased need to urinate in the night is usually a very early symptom.
  • a need to urinate right away. Some men may experience involuntary discharge of urine.
  • dribbling of urine after urination.
  • burning sensation or pain during urination.

Different men get different symptoms - the symptoms may also vary with each individual throughout the course of the disease. It is important to emphasise that the above symptoms do not necessarily prove that the prostate is enlarged. Other diseases may cause similar symptoms. Men with problems urinating should always see their doctor.

Can other problems occur too?

There are further complications with this disease.

  • For some men, it suddenly becomes impossible to urinate (known as acute retention). Studies have shown that acute retention affects between 1 and 2 per cent of men with BPH each year. This condition is very painful and demands immediate medical treatment to avoid damage to the kidneys, among other things.
  • Other men find it gradually harder to empty the bladder. As the condition develops, more and more urine is left in the bladder after urination (known as chronic retention). Other complications of the disease include: repeated attacks of cystitis (infection of the bladder) and the development of stones in the bladder.

Diagnostic procedures

  • Rectal examination
  • Blood test for Prostate specific antigen (PSA)
  • Ultrasonography of the testicles, prostate and kidneys
  • Intra venous urography
  • Urinary flow studies
  • Cystourethroscopy

Conventional Treatment

The two main medications for management of BPH are alpha blockers and 5α-reductase inhibitors. Medication is often prescribed as the first treatment option, there are many patients who do not achieve success with this line of treatment. Patients may not achieve sustained improvement in symptoms or they may stop taking the medication because of side-effects. Surgical removal of the prostate is then often resorted to.

Why homoeopathy?

In Homoeopathy, a patient is treated on its individuality and not on the disease symptoms. He is so disturbed, so embarrassed that he will sometimes not give importance to his particular, uncommon peculiar and constitutional symptoms. It is prudent for a physician to take some symptoms for relief of the patient as palliative measure. Sycosis plays an important part in this disease whereas overall mixed miasm may be found in patients. A proper prescription on the basis of miasm, constitution, individuality, general and particular symptoms then leads the patient to permanent or long lasting relief.

Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon strict individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat the prostate enlargement but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. Various research works carried out with homoeopathic medicines indicate very good control of the symptoms of BHP and increase in the quality of life.