The prostate gland grows as men age, with the fastest growth occurring at middle age. By age 50, 5 out of 10 men have an enlarged prostate. By age 80, up to 9 out of 10 men have an enlarged prostate. Having an enlarged prostate does not always cause symptoms.
As the prostate enlarges, the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body) may become narrowed or partially blocked. The narrowed or blocked urethra is what causes the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). By age 55, over 2 out of 10 men have some symptoms. By age 75, 5 out of 10 men complain of a decrease in the force of their urine streams.1
In rare cases, severe obstruction of the urine flow occurs and may lead to complications, including complete or partial blockage of the urethra, urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder stones, or visible blood in the urine.
Every man's experience with BPH is different. Symptoms may be stable, may come and go, or may become more bothersome over time. Some men find the symptoms to be mild and do not require treatment with medicines. Other men find the symptoms bothersome and choose treatment with medicine or, less commonly, surgery.
BPH does not cause prostate cancer. But prostate cancer may cause symptoms similar to those of BPH. It is important to have your symptoms checked by a doctor to be certain they are not caused by prostate cancer.