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
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
To treat an enlarged prostate, some people use herbs, from flaxseed to stinging nettle to prickly pear cactus. At typical doses, experts say that most plant extracts are probably safe for BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia. But do they work?
Some supplements may help. Others -- including the most popular, saw palmetto -- might not. And a few, including zinc, may actually put you at risk for getting BPH.
In rare cases, severe obstruction of the urine flow occurs and may lead
to complications, including complete or partial blockage
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,
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
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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