Most sufferers of benign prostatic hyperplasia do not develop complications, but when they do, the consequences can be severe and surgical intervention is often required. The most common complications of BPH include urinary stones, kidney or bladder damage, urinary tract infections, hematuria, bladder outlet obstruction, and urinary retention. Any symptoms that negatively affect the sufferer’s quality of life are considered to be serious enough to warrant immediate treatment. Patients with moderate symptoms, however, must balance the costs and benefits of different treatment options and weigh the potential complications against their current condition.
Urinary stones, otherwise known as bladder stones, are hard masses of minerals that form in the bladder when it does not empty completely. Since an enlarged prostate gland can block the flow of urine out of the bladder, the urine may become concentrated and crystallize, resulting in the formation of these stones in the urinary tract. Bladder stones may or may not cause symptoms, depending on their size. Small stones will pass through the bladder with urine, while large stones will irritate the bladder wall.
There are links between benign prostatic hyperplasia and kidney damage, specifically renal failure. Renal failure, otherwise known as kidney failure, means that the kidneys are not able to filter waste products from the blood as well as they should. This is a form of end-stage kidney disease and is the most severe type of kidney damage. Bladder damage is another complication of BPH, specifically damage to the bladder wall. Since an enlarged prostate puts pressure on the urethra as well as the bladder, issues in the bladder, and changes in the bladder wall may develop as a result.
A urinary tract infection, or UTI for short, refers to an infection of the urinary system. Different parts of the urinary tract can be affected, namely the bladder, the urethra, or the kidneys. A UTI of the bladder is known as cystitis, a UTI of the urethra is known as urethritis, and a UTI of the kidneys is known as pyelonephritis. The most common symptoms of UTIs include a burning sensation while urinating, feeling tired or shaky, cloudy or dark pee that may be accompanied by a strange smell, having pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or back, and feeling an intense need to urinate, even though very little pee actually comes out. In addition, having fever and chills may be a sign that the infection has reached the kidneys.
Hematuria refers to the presence of blood in the urine. Since benign prostatic hyperplasia results in an enlarged prostate, bleeding in the urinary tract is not uncommon. Bladder outlet obstruction, on the other hand, refers to a blockage at the base of the bladder. Bladder outlet obstruction, or BOO for short, can occur as a result of BPH because benign prostatic hyperplasia compresses the urethra. This greatly reduces the flow of urine into the urethra and in more severe cases, the flow of urine can come to a complete stop. Lastly, urinary retention has to do with the inability to fully empty the bladder. There are two types – acute and chronic, otherwise classified as obstructive and non-obstructive.