What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

Dr. Robert Nadler answers the question: 'What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?'

March 16, 2009 -- Question: What is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and how is BPH treated?

Answer: BHP, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is an enlargement, or an increase in the number of the glandular cells in the prostate.

The prostate has glandular cells that secrete fluid, similar to the cells that line your colon or the cells that line your breast -- which, consequentially, are also the cells that develop prostate cancer -- and stromal cells, which are sort of tissue cells that are interspaced in between the glands.

With BPH, you get an increase in number of the glandular cells and the stromal cells. And it is that increase in size of the prostate that then causes obstructive, or irritative symptoms. You can have similar symptoms with prostate cancer, but it's usually in more advanced stages.

BPH is a diffuse, overall enlargement of the gland and that's what most men have when they develop symptoms of weak stream, hesitancy, as well as irritative symptoms of urgency, frequency and nocturia.