BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is the name for an enlarged prostate gland. This condition is not cancerous or dangerous. However, it can cause uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms, such as going to the bathroom frequently and getting up at night to urinate.

Why It Happens

Doctors do not know what causes BPH. Some believe that the change in hormones that men experience when they age causes the condition. The hormone testosterone converts into either dihydrotestosterone or estrogen, depending on where it is in the body. Doctors speculate that higher levels of dihydrotestosterone may cause BPH.


While any man can experience BPH, it is most common in men over 50. However, many men have the condition and experience few symptoms, so they may not seek treatment, making it difficult to establish the incidence of the condition. Estimates indicate that at least half of all men over 60 have the condition.


Many men who have BPH feel frequent urges to urinate. They may experience some blood in the urine, and they may not be able to control or stop the flow of urine. A weak urine stream or incontinence can also be symptoms of the condition. These symptoms occur because the enlarged prostate gland puts pressure on the urethra and bladder neck.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors will perform a digital rectal examination and explore the symptoms and medical history of the patient to determine whether or not BPH is causing the symptoms. Treatments are varied and include minimally invasive options such as microwave therapy (TARGIS TUMT), laser therapy (greenlight laser), and rarely surgery.