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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Overview and Risk Factors

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an overgrowth of prostate cells. It is the most common benign tumor in men. It is not a cancer, but it can cause significant discomfort.

The risk of BPH increases with age, rising from 8 percent in the third decade of life, to 40 to 50 percent in the fifth decade, to greater than 90 percent in the ninth decade. BPH involves many factors, including testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones, but its specific causes are not yet entirely clear.

The most common symptom is obstruction of urine flow, which may result in dribbling, the feeling of having to urinate constantly, and the need to urinate several times during the night.

Risk Factors

The following factors are associated with increased risk of BPH:

  • Age: BPH occurs more commonly with advancing age.
  • Family history
  • Obesity: Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, may increase risk for BPH.
  • Physical inactivity: The Health Professionals Study and Massachusetts Male Aging Study found lower levels of physical activity to be associated with increased risk for BPH.


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Diagnosis and Treatment >>