Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – The Theories of Etiology

The disorder of benign prostatic hyperplasia is the over-enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate normally grows during puberty as induced by the hormone production and early adulthood, which is 20 to 25 years, as a preparation for reproduction. The prostate is very crucial for the production of alkaline fluid contained in the semen. It also provides a helpful mechanism for ejaculation, which is the ejection response. The prostate surround the urinary tract and causes squeezing in terms of the condition. The condition of benign prostatic hyperplasia is greatly evident in elderly people around 60 years old onwards. According to epidemiologic studies, 90% of people in the United States aging 60 and up possess the disorder. The occurrence of this condition is rare for those males under age 40 years and below. The researches suggest that this condition is most likely in accord with the cycle of aging. As the individual wrinkles his skin so does the enlargement of the prostate follows.

There are several theories proposed suggesting the etiological pattern of this condition however, these theories are not yet considered fact since evidences are still inadequate. Several clues are discovered such as the occurrence of benign prostatic hyperplasia only for those with present testes. Males with castrated testicles are very incapable of acquiring the condition.

The theory of hormonal imbalance is one of the views relating to this disorder. It has been said that the primary sex hormone of males is what we call testosterone while the hormone for females is estrogen and progesterone. However, it has been proven that males also possess small amounts of estrogen that varies in every individual. Females also possess small amount of male hormone testosterone and levels of this varies among various individuals. The theory suggests that the amounts of these hormones sometimes changes as the person grows with age and this situation commonly leads to various disorders. In the case of BPH, the testosterone levels decrease cause the increase proportion of estrogen. Estrogen is growth-enhancing hormone that stimulates cellular proliferation. This hormone induces hyperplasia of the prostate causing it to increase in size. This situation now leads to benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Another theory about this condition is about the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a constituent of the hormone testosterone. DHT is another growth enhancer that promotes cellular proliferation. In the case of the animals, DHT levels decreases gradually until it totally becomes absent. In humans, the situation is very different. DHT is continuously produced as a person ages. DHT levels accumulate and cause growth in the prostatic cells. This leads to hyperplasia that increases the size of the organ itself. This explains why castrated males do not develop BPH because DHT is not produced in this case.

The condition is also viewed as a genetic in origin although evidences are not yet sufficient to prove this claim. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is considered as the disorder of the elderly and goes along with age. Resolving the problem is one issue if etiology is not clear. However, in the situation of BPH, medical interventions are available.