Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

The Prostate

An integral part of the male reproductive system, the prostate is located under the bladder and in front of the retinus, being crossed by the urethra. The prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system that produces part of the seminal fluid. As age progresses, many men tend to suffer from prostate-related problems. It naturally increases in volume as men age, eventually compressing the urethra and hindering urinary function. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity, good diet and regular preventive examinations are attitudes that help maintain prostate health and prevent a set of diseases.

What happens when the prostate gland increases (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)?

The prostate is usually the size of a chestnut, when it increases it can be about the size of a tennis ball. As a consequence of the increase in prostate size there is a compression of the urethra that consequently hinders the normal flow of urine.

Initially causes symptoms when the enlarged prostate begins to block the flow of urine. Men may have difficulty initiating urination. Urination can also give the feeling of having been incomplete. As the bladder does not empty completely, men have to urinate more often, usually at night. Consequently, man may become more susceptible to the development of urinary tract infections (UTI). The volume and strength of urinary flow can decrease considerably.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is more frequent from the age of 50, affecting about 40% of men at 50 years and about 90% at 90 years of age… The exact cause is still unknown, but probably involves hormonal changes including testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.

How is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with clinical history and medical observation, which allows the evaluation of the size and texture of the prostate. Laboratory tests are important and allow dosing concentrations of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), useful for the diagnosis of prostate hyperplasia and for prostate cancer. Uroflowmetry allows the quantification of the characteristics of urination and quantify the degree of obstruction and the prostatic ultrasonography provides very accurate images of this organ. In other cases, it may be useful to perform an endoscopic examination through the urethra.

How is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia prevented?

Considering that the main risk factor for benign prostatic hyperplasia is age, there is no validated method of preventing this disease. Some data suggest that regular physical activity, a low-fat diet, regular consumption of vitamin C-rich vegetables and zinc-rich foods may reduce the risk of developing this condition. The most important is an early diagnosis, through medical consultation and laboratory tests, which will allow for earlier and therefore more effective therapeutic intervention.

What options are there in reliency of symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

Symptoms can be relieved by relaxing bladder muscles, relieving the obstacle to urine flow. There are also therapies that act on the volume of the prostate, allowing an important symptomatic relief.

There are medicines that can be considered by your doctor or natural extracts (dietary supplements):

  • Plant extracts – Phytotherapy, numerous substances have been tested, the most used being Serenoa Repens (UroProst).


Editorial Note: This page and all other contents presented in are prepared and reviewed by medical experts in Portugal.