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Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) refers to enlargement of the prostate gland. It is a common condition as men get older. Data shows that the prevalence of BPH is approximately 60% for men in their 60s and rises to as high as 80 to 90 percent for men in their seventies and eighties. An enlarged prostate gland often causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms, such as difficulty peeing, particularly after you wake up in the morning. The enlarged prostate gland compresses the urethra (urinary tube) and blocks the flow of urine out of the bladder. It can also cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.

If you fit the picture of a male, above 60 with urinary complaints better talk to your doctor about it or find best physician online and book a tele-appointment with doctor online in any city in Pakistan and get expert medical advice about your complaints from home. 

What does the prostate gland do?

The prostate is a small gland no larger than a walnut located between the bladder and the penis. The prostate is just in front of the rectum. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate, from the bladder to the penis, letting urine flow out of the body. It secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra, and it’s expelled with sperm as semen.

What causes BPH?

Doctors don’t really know what causes BPH. The prostate gland actually doubles in size early in puberty.  Later in life, around age 25, it starts to grow again. For most men, this growth happens for the rest of their lives and accelerates even more so after 60 years of age causing BPH.

BPH is a treatable condition with several effective treatments for prostate gland enlargement, including medications, minimally invasive therapies and surgery. Find doctors online to choose the best option for you according to your symptoms, the size of your prostate, other health conditions you might have and your preferences. The severity of symptoms doesn’t necessarily depend on the size of the prostate gland. Some men with only slightly enlarged prostates can have significant symptoms, while other men with very enlarged prostates can have only minor urinary symptoms.

Risk factors

There are certain things that can increase the likelihood of developing BPH:

  • Age. Prostate gland enlargement rarely causes signs and symptoms in men younger than age 40. About 33% of men experience moderate to severe symptoms by age 60, and about half do so by age 80.
  • Family history. Having first degree relatives with BPH increases the chances of you getting it as well.
  • Diabetes and heart disease. Studies show that diabetes, as well as heart disease and the consequent use of beta blockers (medication), might increase the risk of BPH.
  • Lifestyle. Obesity increases the risk of BPH, while exercise can lower your risk.

Signs and symptoms of BPH

The severity of symptoms in people with BPH is differs from individual to individual, but symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time. Common signs and symptoms of BPH include:

  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak urine flow or a stream that stops and starts
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder
  • Leaking of urine droplets 

Less common signs and symptoms include urinary tract infection, inability to urinate to satisfaction, or blood in the urine. Medical conditions that cause similar symptoms to BPH include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis)
  • Narrowing of the urethra (urethral stricture)
  • Scarring of the urinary tract as a result of previous surgery
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Nerve problems of the bladder
  • Cancer of the prostate or bladder

When should you see a doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, discuss them with your doctor. Even if the symptoms don’t bother you too much, chances are they will worsen over time. It is important to identify or rule out any underlying causes. Untreated or undiagnosed problems are more difficult to manage and may cause complications. If you want to skip the waiting room then find doctors online by downloading My live doctors app on your smartphone or mobile device. Here you can instantly connect to qualified healthcare professionals from home for medical guidance. 

Note: Inability to pass urine at all is a medical emergency. Contact your doctor immediately. 

Request a tele-appointment with doctor online in Pakistan today

How is BPH diagnosed?

As with any medical condition your doctor will begin with a medical and family history. Questions will be asked about signs and symptoms to establish the severity of the condition. 

Next comes the physical examination. This may include a digital rectal exam. During this you will lie on one side and a finger will gently be inserted into your rectum to check the size and shape of your prostate. 

Your doctor may advise some basic tests like blood tests to check for kidney problems, urine tests to check for infection, PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test as high PSA levels may be a sign of a larger-than-usual prostate as well as an indicator of prostate cancer.

How do you treat BPH

Treatment depends upon on your age, health, the size of your prostate, and how BPH affects you. If your symptoms don’t bother you too much, you can put off treatment and see how it goes. Having said that here are some things you can do at home to help with symptom relief and slow progression of disease altogether. 

Small lifestyle changes like increasing physical activity, eating healthier, doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake can go a long way.

For mild to moderate BPH, your doctor might prescribe medication. Some medications work by relaxing the muscles in your prostate and bladder. Others help shrink your prostate. Some may get a combination of meds to help relieve symptoms quicker. 

Minimally invasive procedures are used if lifestyle changes and medications don’t work. It is not the same as surgery as probes or scopes and don’t require large cuts in your body are used. Examples of a minimally invasive procedures are TUMT, TUNA, or Rezum which use a varied form of energy to destroy part of the prostate.

Other, more extensive surgical procedures include laser therapy to remove part of your prostate, transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, in which the doctor uses a scope and cuts out pieces of the gland , transurethral incision of the prostate or TUIP, in which a few small cuts are made in the prostate to reduce the gland’s pressure on the urethra.

If you would like to know more about these procedures then book a tele-appointment with online doctor in Pakistan now at