Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged. However, the actual size of the gland does not always predict symptom severity. Some men with minimally enlarged prostate glands may experience symptoms while other men with much larger glands may have few symptoms. BPH is very common among older men, affecting about 60% of men over age 60 and 80% of men over age 80.
The symptoms associated with BPH are collectively called lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). These are generally classified as either voiding (obstructive) symptoms or storage (irritative) symptoms.
Common symptoms of BPH include:
- An urgent need to urinate and difficulty postponing urination
- A hesitation before urine flow starts despite the urgency to urinate
- Straining when urinating
- Weak or intermittent urinary stream
- A sense that the bladder has not emptied completely
- Dribbling at the end of urination or leakage afterward
- An increased frequency of urination (every few hours), particularly at night
Urinary retention (inability to void) is a serious symptom of severe BPH that requires immediate medical attention
BPH is not a cancerous or precancerous condition. It rarely causes serious complications, and men usually have a choice whether to treat it immediately or delay treatment. Treatment options include medications and surgery.
Tamsulosin (Flomax), a drug used to treat BPH, has been associated with a complication of cataract surgery called intraoperative floppy iris syndrome (IFIS). Men who take tamsulosin should inform their doctors before having cataract or other eye surgery. Tamsulosin and other alpha-blocker drugs can cause difficulty with these surgeries. The risks appear highest with selective alpha-blockers, which also include alfusozin (Uroxatral) and silodosin (Rapaflo).
Tamsulosin (Flomax) is now available as a generic. In 2010, the FDA approved a generic version.
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.