Hyperplasia is a general medical term referring to an abnormal increase in cells. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is noncancerous cell growth of the prostate gland. It is the most common noncancerous form of cell growth in men and usually begins with microscopic nodules in younger men. BPH is not a precancerous condition and does not lead to prostate cancer.
As BPH progresses, it can lead to enlargement of the prostate gland (a condition called benign prostatic enlargement [BPE]). About half of men with BPH go on to develop an enlarged prostate. As the prostate grows, it can squeeze the urinary tube (urethra), causing urinary symptoms. These urinary difficulties are part of a group of symptoms called collectively lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).
The size of the prostate gland in patients with an enlarged prostate is not always directly related to a patient’s symptoms. Not all men with BPH have LUTS, and not all men with LUTS have BPH. About a third of men with BPH have symptoms that interfere with their quality of life.
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The Prostate Gland
Review Date: 07/20/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.