Mayo Clinic: Men’s Health Center


What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, known as BPH, is an enlargement of the prostate gland. You might hear BPH called prostate gland enlargement or bladder outlet obstruction. BPH is not cancer. It does not cause cancer. It is not a life-threatening condition. But BPH commonly causes symptoms that can affect quality of life. And, while rare, it can cause serious health issues in later stages of the disease.

The prostate

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland at the base of the bladder. See Figure 1. It makes fluid that helps carry sperm during ejaculation. The tube that carries urine from the bladder is called the urethra. It passes through the center of the prostate. 

With BPH, the prostate becomes enlarged. This makes it harder for urine to pass through the prostate. See Figure 2.