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Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-malignant enlargement of the prostate gland.
The prostate is a small gland that surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra in men. Its major function is to contribute to seminal fluid. If the prostate enlarges, pressure may be put on the urethra, acting like a partial clamp and causing a variety of urinary symptoms. Half of all 50-year-old men have BPH, and the prevalence of the condition increases with advancing age. The name “benign prostatic hyperplasia” has replaced the older term “benign prostatic hypertrophy”; both terms refer to the same condition.
A man with BPH has to urinate more often, especially at night, and experiences less force and caliber while urinating, often dribbling. If the prostate enlarges too much, urination is difficult or impossible, and the risk of urinary tract infection and kidney damage increases. A doctor can usually detect an enlarged prostate during a rectal exam.
More physically active men have a lower frequency of symptoms related to BPH. In a preliminary study, physical activity was associated with a decrease in occurrence of BPH, surgery for BPH, and symptoms of BPH.1 Walking, the most prevalent activity among men in this study, was related to a decreased risk of BPH. Men who exercised by walking two to three hours per week had a 25% lower risk of BPH compared with men who didn’t use walking for exercise.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2017.