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Urology. 2000 Nov 1;56(5 Suppl 1):3-6.

The natural history of benign prostatic hyperplasia: what have we learned in the last decade?

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Department of Urology, St. George's Hospital, London, England, UK.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) frequently has a significant detrimental impact on a patient's quality of life. If the disease is left untreated, it may progress in severity, leading to recurrent bladder infections, bladder calculi, and acute urinary retention (AUR), necessitating surgical treatment. The Forth Valley, Scotland, study reported that 14% of men aged 40 to 50 years have BPH. This increases to 43% of men >60 years old. BPH has been shown to be nearly as prevalent as hypertension and diabetes among patients seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction. The effects of BPH on quality of life include lack of sleep, anxiety, reduced mobility, interference with leisure activities and usual daily activities, and a compromised sense of well-being. Three symptoms are associated with an increased risk of AUR in men with BPH: a reduction in the force of the urinary stream, a sensation of incomplete bladder emptying, and an enlarged prostate gland on digital rectal examination. Age is a strong independent risk factor for the development of AUR. Transurethral resection of the prostate was more effective than watchful waiting in preventing AUR, as shown in the Veteran's Affairs Cooperative Study. Data from the Olmsted County study revealed that urinary flow decreases and prostate size increases with advanced age. This study also showed that lower urinary tract symptoms have a negative impact on parameters of physical and mental aspects of health. More recently, studies have shown that medical treatment with 5alpha-reductase inhibitors and possibly also alpha-blockers may alter the natural history and progression of BPH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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