Causes of benign prostate enlargement 

The exact cause of benign prostate enlargement is unknown, but research suggests that hormones probably play an important role in the condition'sĀ development.

Hormones are powerful chemicals that can have a wide range of effects on the cells of the body.

One theory is that as some men get older, the levels of a type of hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increases, which may stimulate the growth of the prostate.

Another theory suggests that two hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, play a role. Younger men produce high levels of testosterone and much smaller levels of oestrogen. But as men get older, their levels of testosterone decrease, which means they then have a higher proportion of oestrogen in their body. It's been suggested that the relative increase in oestrogen may stimulate prostate growth.

Risk factors

Research has shown that rates of benign prostate enlargement are higher among men with high blood pressure and diabetes. However, both diabetes and high blood pressure are associated with the natural ageing process, so there may not be a direct connection between the three conditions.


Page last reviewed: 03/03/2015

Next review due: 01/03/2018