The causes of BPH are not well-understood. Some researchers believe that factors related to aging and the testicles may cause BPH. This is because BPH does not develop in men whose testicles were removed before puberty.
Throughout their lives, men produce both testosterone, a male hormone, and small amounts of estrogen, a female hormone. As men age, the amount of active testosterone in the blood lowers, leaving a higher share of estrogen. Studies have suggested that BPH may happen because the higher share of estrogen in the prostate adds to the activity of substances that start prostate cells to grow.
Another theory points to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone that plays a role in prostate development and growth. Some research has shown that, even when testosterone levels in the blood start to fall, high levels of DHT still build up in the prostate. This may push prostate cells to continue to grow. Scientists have noted that men who do not produce DHT do not develop BPH.
Who is at Risk for BPH?
Aging and a family history of BPH increase a man’s risk for BPH. Obesity, lack of staying active, and erectile dysfunction can also increase risk.
Can BPH be Prevented?
There is no sure way to stop BPH, but losing weight and eating a healthy diet that involves fruits and vegetables may help. This may relate to having too much body fat, may increase hormone levels and other factors in the blood, and stimulate the growth of prostate cells. Staying active also helps control weight and hormone levels.