Diagnosis of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

What is a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) refers to abnormal growth of prostate tissue. Also known as benign enlargement of the prostate, the condition occurs when the stromal and epithelial cells of the prostate grow rapidly. The increased growth of these cells results in nodules occurring on the prostate itself and its size increases accordingly. Continue reading to learn more about a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Although there are relatively few symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), patients often present with symptoms relating to the lower urinary tract. Due to its increased size, the prostate may impact upon the urethra and can cause uncomfortable symptoms as a result.

Due to this, patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) may report issues such as frequent urination, increased urgency and incontinence. Whilst these symptoms are referred to as storage systems, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) may also cause voiding symptoms in patients.

For example, patients may experience urinary hesitancy, incomplete voiding and difficulty in urinating. Occasionally, storage and voiding symptoms may result in pain when urinating, although not all patients experience this.

If benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) causes a bladder outlet obstruction, the symptoms may be more severe. When bladder outlet obstruction occurs, the enlarged prostate places a significant amount of pressure on the urethra and urinating may be extremely difficult or impossible. Patients may experience abdominal pain and discomfort as a result, and they often report pain when trying to urinate.

Although symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) do vary, urinary symptoms in middle-aged men may point to the condition. If left untreated, the continuous lower urinary tract issues may result in frequent urinary tract infections occurring.

How do you get a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?

Diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): is not uncommon and physicians may suspect the condition is present if patients report on-going urinary symptoms. By taking a full medical history from the patient, performing a physical exam and ordering specific medical tests, a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia can be given.

Whilst symptoms may be indicative of the condition, the physician will need to perform a digital rectal examination in order to identify any changes or abnormalities of the prostate. They may then require further tests to be performed before a comprehensive diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia can be given.

Should further tests be required, the patient may be referred to a urologist. Following this, urinalysis, prostate-specific antigen testing, transrectal ultrasounds and biopsies can be undertaken in order to confirm whether or not the condition is present.

Although these additional tests can be useful when obtaining a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia, they are not always necessary. The condition is so common that physicians are normally able to provide a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia simply by assessing a patient's medical history and performing a physical exam.

What treatment is there for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)?

Once a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia has been given, patients may want to discuss treatment options with their physician. Although there are a range of treatments available for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the appropriate treatment for the patient will depend on the severity of his symptoms.

Surgery and lifestyle changes

Whilst surgery is available, for example, patients with only limited symptoms may prefer to treat the condition via medication or lifestyle changes.

Avoiding caffeinated beverages and alcohol may reduce symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and patients are often advised to practice pelvic floor exercises to increase bladder strength. These types of lifestyle changes can be very effective in managing the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia but, in some cases, patients may benefit from medication as well.

However, if lifestyle changes and medications do not relieve symptoms, surgical treatment options may be given. Minimally invasive procedures, such as ultrasounds and electrovaporization can be used to reduce the size of the prostate, thus minimizing symptoms. Alternatively, surgery can be used to cut away prostate tissue or widen the urethra. Whilst effective, surgery is not generally the first course of treatment following a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia.


Generally, medications such as alpha-blockers, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are given following a diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia. These are intended to prevent further growth of the prostate and they may also be effective in shrinking the prostate.

By preventing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) from enlarging the prostate any further, medications can ensure that symptoms do not worsen and, in many cases, patients find these medications to be effective in managing their symptoms.

Early intervention

Whilst patients may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about the problem at first, it can be easily treated once a diagnosis has been made. By seeking medical help quickly, patients can avoid symptoms getting worse.

In addition to this, early intervention may mean that benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can be resolved by lifestyle changes and medications, without the need for further treatment or surgery.

Last Reviewed:
July 07, 2017
Last Updated:
October 16, 2018
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