Men’s health

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)

The prostate is a gland organ found in men, which produces a large part of the liquid that makes up sperm. Situated directly beneath the bladder, it surrounds the urethra, the tube that serves to evacuate urine and sperm. The prostate tends to increase in volume when men are in their forties, which can cause certain health issues. Thankfully, solutions do exist.

What is benign prostatic hypertrophy?

In young men, the prostate is the size of a hazelnut, but it can reach up to 7 times that size. An enlarged prostate compresses the urethra while at the same time putting pressure on the bladder, which leads to frequent urination and various urination problems, depending on the case.

Symptom gravity is not proportional to the size of the prostate. Some men whose prostate is enlarged experience no symptoms, whereas others endure symptoms even though their prostate is smaller.


Even though the term "hyperplasia" refers to the proliferation of prostate cells, it is not a tumour. BPH has no incidence on the risk of developing prostate cancer.

BPH: what are its risk factors?

As they age, almost all men are subject to benign prostatic hypertrophy. Indeed, more than 50% of men older than 60 are affected by it, as well as 90% of those over 80 years of age. Ethnic background, as well as some health issues such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension seem to be correlated with the incidence of BPH.

BPH: what are its causes?

Although very widespread, hyperplasia of the prostate remains poorly understood. Heredity could be to blame, but other factors come into play, and in particular certain hormone sensitive conditions. 

Older men who choose to undergo testosterone hormone therapy to combat andropause symptoms are more at risk of developing benign prostatic hypertrophy in the long term. 

BPH: what are its symptoms?

You could be suffering from benign adenomatous hyperplasia of the prostate if you are experiencing one or several of the following:

  • You are urinating with greater and greater frequency (at first during the night, and then also during the day).
  • You have difficulty initiating the flow of urine.
  • Your urinary stream has weakened.
  • You are experiencing an intermittent urinary stream, i.e., your urine seems to flow in a sporadic manner.
  • You are seeing a leak of urine drops after the end of urination.
  • You are not emptying your bladder completely.
  • You have difficulty controlling your need to urinate and are experiencing urge incontinence, i.e., sometimes urine leaks before you reach the toilet.
  • You find it hard to stop or to restart the flow of urine.
  • You are seeing blood in your urine.
  • Your urine seems cloudy.
  • You are observing a decline in ejaculation strength.

How to screen for hyperplasia of the prostate?

Your doctor can detect and monitor an enlarged prostate gland, as well as identify the presence of nodules and assess the risk for cancer by performing a rectal examination. A urine analysis as well as blood work may also be prescribed, as the case may be.

How to live with BPH

By following the advice below, you can minimize the impact of benign hyperplasia of the prostate:

  • Stay active. Men who engage in regular physical activity seem to be less affected by BPH.
  • Remain well hydrated, but reduce your consumption of water and other liquids 1 or 2 hours before a long journey, bedtime or any stressful situation.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcohol increases the volume of urine while reducing the feeling of having to urinate. 
  • Drink coffee in moderation. Coffee causes the prostate to swell slightly, which can accentuate congestion of the urinary tract.
  • Take the time to empty your bladder as much as possible each time you urinate. Sitting instead of standing up while peeing can make this easier.
  • Make your way to the toilet without delay when the need to urinate presents itself.
  • Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you are taking any diuretics, decongestants or antihistamines, which may worsen symptoms.

How to treat hyperplasia of the prostate

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, BPH can be treated using medication and, in the most serious cases, by surgery.

Medicines for treating BPH

5-alpha reductase inhibitors

This type of medication is used alone or with alpha blockers (see below). Specifically, it is finasteride (Proscar®) and dutasteride (Avodart®) that are used. 

These molecules act as hormone disruptors in order to reduce the prostate's volume. It takes 3 to 6 months for treatments to have an impact, and a 25% to 30% decrease can be observed. 

Another advantage of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors is that they facilitate the detection of possibly cancerous growths. They do, however, cause erectile dysfunction in approximately 4% of men who take them. 

Alpha blockers

Alpha blockers contribute to muscular relaxation of the prostate and of the bladder neck, which can then empty itself more easily, thus reducing the frequency of the need to pass urine. Benefits can be felt quickly, after 1 or 2 days of starting alpha blockers.

The main alpha blocking drugs are terazosin (Hytrin®), doxazosin (Cardura®), tamsulosin (Flomax®), alfuzosin (Xatral®) and silodosin (Rapaflo®).

Possible side effects include dizziness, fatigue or low blood pressure and can occur if you are taking alpha blockers along with medication against erectile dysfunction. Discuss this matter with your pharmacist or doctor.

Prostate surgery 

If medicinal treatments do not improve your situation, surgical treatment may be considered. Prostate surgery is minimally invasive and is performed via the body's natural rectal orifice. As of the age of 60, 10% to 30% of affected men use surgical treatment to relieve major symptoms or in case of complications.

In-pharmacy services

Feel free to book an appointment with your pharmacist affiliated with Accès pharma if you notice the appearance of symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy or in case of any other health issue.

Pharmacy services

Don’t hesitate to ask your Accès Pharma affiliated-pharmacist for advice. They will respect your privacy and be able to assist you.

To download the PDF brochure, click here

This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and Accès pharma affiliated pharmacist-owners cannot be held responsible for this information. The information was true and accurate at the time of publication, but it is subject to change.

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