What’s the Link Between Diabetes and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a lower urinary tract symptom (LUTS) characterized by an enlarged prostate gland. The disease is not cancerous and is commonly found in men between the ages of 50 and 70 years old. 

As the prostate grows, it puts pressure on the urethra, leading to uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • Frequent urination
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Weak or slow urine flow
  • Feeling that the bladder isn’t empty
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Increased nighttime bathroom visits disrupting sleep

Traditionally, risk factors for the disease include an individual’s age, sex hormone levels, diet, weight and genetics. But in recent years, researchers have started considering whether to add diabetes to that list.

While diabetes hasn’t been firmly proven to increase a patient’s risk of BPH, many scientists have drawn connections between the presence of insulin like growth factor (IGF) in prosthetic tissue and the development of an enlarged prostate or, for some, prostate cancer.  

Diabetes affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, as their immune system attacks cells found in the pancreas that produce insulin. For those living with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas begins to produce less insulin, resulting in the body becoming more resistant to insulin from internal or external sources. 

Individuals with diabetes have been shown to rank higher on the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) for BPH than patients without diabetes. 

Some studies have found that vascular damage and atherosclerosis onset by diabetes can cause ischemia of the prostate, a condition in which blood flow to the prostate is restricted. It’s believed that it can aggravate the prostate gland and stimulate growth, leading to BPH in men with diabetes. 

Treatment options for BPH include: medication, microwave therapy, laser therapy and minimally-invasive surgical procedures such as the Urolift® System.  

If you’re experiencing symptoms of BPH, whether you have diabetes or not, it’s imperative that you seek out urological care for the betterment of your health and your quality of life. 

Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us today or book your appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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