While benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is fairly common among men in their later years in the U.S. (reportedly 90 percent of American men over the age of 80 will suffer some degree of BPH), the exact causes have yet to be uncovered – that is, until a recent study released by UCSB found that abnormally high levels of testosterone may be linked to the development of BPH.
The UC Santa Barbara anthropologists began by examining the testosterone levels and degree of prostate enlargement among adult males in the isolated indigenous population of Bolivia called the Tsimane. The Bolivian group not only had significantly lower levels of testosterone than men of the same age group in the United States, but also smaller prostates. Among the Tsimane, those with the highest levels of the masculine hormone had relatively larger prostates than their peers; however, none of the Tsimane men had prostates anywhere near the size of their counterparts in the U.S.
The Dangers of Hormone Replacement
Testosterone production naturally decreases as males get older, resulting in the trademark signs of aging, such as decreased energy, muscle loss, and reduced libido. In an attempt to delay the effects of time, pharmaceutical companies have promoted hormone replacement therapy drugs as the veritable fountain of youth aging men have been looking for.
In comparing the two disparate populations of Americans and the Tsimane, the UCSB research group determined that the group with a higher exposure to testosterone, such as in supplement form, appear to have a significantly higher risk of prostate enlargement and even prostate cancer.
Additionally, the researchers pointed to other studies in which men with very low levels of testosterone, particularly men who do not have testes, have substantially lower rates of BPH.
Symptoms of BPH
While benign, BPH can lead to serious health complications, such as kidney obstruction or kidney failure. Other common symptoms include difficulty urinating, slow or intermittent urinary flow, frequent urinary urgency, and leakage of urine.
As more information about the harmful effects of hormone replacement continues to emerge, it is important to discuss your medical concerns with an experienced doctor before beginning any hormone-related therapies.
Contact the Expert Urologist at Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles
If you or someone you care about is experiencing symptoms of BPH, get in touch with the prostate condition specialists at Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles. Our team can provide screening and treatment for BPH and other prostate issues. Call 310-341-2557 today to schedule an appointment or contact us online.