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Common Causes of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

The causes of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, are not particularly well understood. It is clear, though, that BPH is a part of the natural aging process and is a common medical condition experienced by men over the age of 50. The prostate gland – located between the bladder and penis – is a part of the male reproductive system and continues to grow over the course of a man’s life. In approximately half of all men in their 50s, the prostate has enlarged to a point where it becomes difficult to urinate normally. Symptoms of BPH include a weak urine stream, having to frequently get out of bed at night to urinate, straining to urinate, and feelings of incomplete bladder emptying.

Theories of what causes BPH include the following:

  • 5α-dihydrotestosterone – The function of this hormone is to stimulate the development of male physical characteristics. Research shows that, unlike testosterone, 5α-dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, continues to be produced at high levels in many older men. The continued production of this hormone is linked to BPH. Medications used to treat BPH block this pathway, but reach maximum benefit after six months of use.
  • Diet – Consuming high amounts of animal protein over the course of one’s life is a possible cause – or contributing factor – of BPH. Other diet-related conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension may also play an indirect role.

Living with BPH can be highly unpleasant. Fortunately, it is relatively simple to diagnose and can be treated one of several different ways. Tampa General Hospital is one of the first medical facilities in the United States to offer a minimally invasive procedure for benign prostatic hyperplasia that significantly reduces the risk of side effects associated with traditional surgery. Called prostate artery embolization, or PAE, it is an outpatient procedure (performed through a small incision in the wrist) with post-procedure symptoms that typically last only one to three days. PAE is ideal for men who have a significantly enlarged prostate or a prostate size that is considered higher risk for traditional TURP.

Fill out our online form or call (813) 844-5072 to speak with the PAE program coordinator and begin the process of determining whether you are a suitable candidate for prostate artery embolization at Tampa General Hospital.