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  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a nearly ubiquitous condition, is the most common benign neoplasm of American men.


  • Three types of prostate gland tissue: epithelial or glandular, stromal or smooth muscle, and capsule. Both stromal tissue and capsule are embedded with α1-adrenergic receptors.

  • The precise pathophysiologic mechanisms that cause BPH are not clear. Both intraprostatic dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and type II 5α-reductase are thought to be involved.

  • BPH commonly results from both static (gradual enlargement of the prostate) and dynamic (agents or situations that increase α-adrenergic tone and constrict the gland’s smooth muscle) factors. Examples of drugs that can exacerbate symptoms include testosterone, α-adrenergic agonists (eg, decongestants), and those with significant anticholinergic effects (eg, antihistamines, phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants, antispasmodics, and antiparkinsonian agents).


  • Patients present with a variety of signs and symptoms categorized as obstructive or irritative. Symptoms vary over time.

  • Obstructive signs and symptoms result when dynamic and/or static factors reduce bladder emptying. Patients experience urinary hesitancy, urine dribbles out of the penis, and the bladder feels full even after voiding.

  • Irritative signs and symptoms are common and result from long-standing obstruction at the bladder neck. Patients experience urinary frequency, urgency, and nocturia.

  • BPH progression may produce complications including chronic kidney disease, gross hematuria, urinary incontinence, recurrent urinary tract infection, bladder diverticula, and bladder stones.


  • Includes careful medical history, physical examination, objective measures of bladder emptying (eg, peak and average urinary flow rate and postvoid residual [PVR] urine volume), and laboratory tests (eg, urinalysis and prostate-specific antigen [PSA]).

  • On digital rectal examination, the prostate is usually but not always enlarged (>20 g), soft, smooth, and symmetric.


  • Goals of Treatment: The goals are to control symptoms, prevent progression of complications, and delay need for surgical intervention.

  • Management options include watchful waiting, drug therapy, and surgical intervention. The choice depends on severity of signs and symptoms (Table 79–1).

  • Watchful waiting is appropriate for patients with mild disease (Fig. 79–1). Patients are reassessed at 6 to 12 month intervals and educated about behavior modification, such as fluid restriction before bedtime, minimizing caffeine and alcohol intake, frequent emptying of the bladder, and avoiding drugs that exacerbate voiding symptoms.

TABLE 79–1Categories of BPH Disease Severity Based on Symptoms and Signs

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