- Western diet
- Industrialised environment
- Increased androgen
Any normal man will develop BPH if he lives long enough. Time and male hormones
(dihydrotestosterone and testosterone) are the only proven risk factors for
Prostate cells are much more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone than
testosterone itself. An enzyme specific to the prostate, 5-alpha reductase,
converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Men who are castrated in their
youth, or who lack 5-alpha reductase, do not develop BPH.
Recent studies indicate a probable genetic link for BPH. A male with a first
degree relative who has had surgery for BPH has a four times' increased
lifetime risk of needing prostate surgery himself. This genetic link is
especially strong for men under 60 years of age with large prostates.
Some studies indicate that male hormone receptors (androgen receptors) may
be increased in BPH cells. The role of environmental factors such as diet,
obesity and an industrialised environment is not entirely clear.
Oriental men (especially the Japanese) have a low incidence of BPH. The oriental
diet, which is high in phyto oestrogens, may have a protective effect.
Soy, tea may help prostate
Cancer in South Africa - what are the stats?