Ask the Experts: What is BPH?

Ask the Experts: What is BPH?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH, is a common condition where the prostate gland becomes enlarged.

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and is normally about the size of a walnut. The main job of the prostate is to make fluid for semen. The prostate is located around a tube called the urethra. Since the urethra carries urine from the bladder out through the penis, an enlarged prostate can cause urination issues for men. BPH is common in aging men. About half of all men between the ages of 51 and 60 have BPH, and up to 90 percent of men over age 80 have BPH.

BPH is benign. This means it's not cancer. While BPH may cause problems and discomfort for men, it's usually not a life-threatening issue. There is no sure way to prevent BPH, but losing weight, being physically active and eating a healthy diet, with fruits and vegetables, may help prevent BPH. Learn more about BPH

Kevin McVary, MD, FACS, is the Chair of the Division of Urology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois.