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Causes of Enlarged Prostate

Benign prostatic hypertrophy consists of a non-malignant growth of the gland. When the prostate increases its size, it can compress progressively the urethra and causes difficulty to urinate.

There are two important factors that cause the disease: the increase of the size of the gland can originate obstruction to the urinary flow by narrowing the urethra. On the other hand, alteration in the muscular tone from the bladder neck and smooth muscle of the prostate, which can cause irritation.


What are the causes?

The causes of this disease are not well known. In the past, it was considered that the androgens (male hormones) and ageing were the two key factors for the onset of the disease.

Nowadays, two different groups of factors are possible causes of benign prostatic hypertrophy:


Extrinsic factors

We can mention the hormones, environmental factors or hereditary predisposition.


Intrinsic factors

These factors act as regulators of prostate growth through autocrine and paracrine processes (which are types of cellular communication that employ chemical messengers).



The prevalence of benign prostatic hypertrophy increases with age, and mainly affects men older than 50 years. It is very rare if it occurs before the age of 40. At 40 years, 14% of men present symptoms that make suspect their presence; at 50-60 years this percentage increases to 40-50%. Up to 80% of those over 80 years old can have benign prostatic hypertrophy. Black men are more likely to develop this disease than white men. This disease is less common among men of Asian origin.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is highly variable. While symptoms in some men progressively worsen despite treatment, others remain unchanged or improve over time without the need for treatment.


About the diagnosis

For the diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia, the existence of an enlarged prostate, the presence of symptoms compatible with the condition, and the existence of obstruction below the bladder should be verified.

Clinical history: When we suspect benign prostatic hypertrophy, our specialists ask you about the presence of symptoms that suggest that you suffer from this disease (irritative or obstructive symptoms).

These symptoms are not specific to benign prostatic hypertrophy. They can also appear in men with a normal prostate due to other diseases such as diabetes, a urine infection, or drug use. A careful medical history will allow us to make a differential diagnosis.


At the Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to diagnose and treat an enlarged prostate. Book an appointment to get a checkup.



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