The prostate is the male reproductive gland located between the bladder and urethra. It adds fluid to the semen during ejaculation.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the gland occurring in more than 50% of the male population over the age of 50. It develops from an increase in the hormone DHT.
Normally, testosterone is derived from a chemical pathway starting with a compound called DHEA. This converts to androstenedione which is the precursor to testosterone. Testosterone is converted to DHT. When this conversion results with an increased level of DHT, the prostate starts to increase its production of cells and slowly the gland enlarges. This leads to BPH.
DHT is transformed to estrogen, specifically estradiol (this is the most active hormone in menstruating women). It is usually produced in small quantities and has no affect on the male hormonal cycle. When this process results in an increased level of estradiol, this hormone will prevent the prostate from flushing the DHT out of its tissue. The more DHT that remains in the prostate tissue, the greater the enlargement becomes. This is another influence leading to BPH.
The increase in DHT production occurs because an enzyme (5 alpha reductase) is stimulated to convert testosterone to DHT. This overstimulation results from:
The conversion of DHT to estradiol results from:
P.S. Researchers are showing the majority of prostate problems are estrogen based. One of the contributing factors is there are 17,000 man-made chemicals in the environment that act as an estrogen derivative when they enter the body. They stimulate the cells vulnerable to estrogen influences. This includes the prostate. The results are estrogen-like affects and one of those outcomes is cell growth. If detoxification capacity is sub-par, these estrogens will have a dramatic affect on the body. It is also responsible for a percentage of the infertility cases found in men.
BPH is differentially diagnosed from prostate cancer by a non-invasive screening test called a PSA (prostate-specific antigen). Though this test is not 100% reliable, it should always be used if there is ant suspicion of cancer.