Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can be found in 88% of autopsies in men ≥80 years, with compatible symptomatology reported in nearly 50% of men aged ≥50 years in the general population. Despite such a common occurrence, little is known with any certainty about the epidemiology of BPH (for which "prostatism" is a commonly, and wrongly, used synonym). Knowledge of risk factors is sparse: analytic epidemiologic studies of BPH are difficult to conduct. It is essential to establish an epidemiologic definition of BPH for these reasons. Both BPH and prostatism are the problems that seem set to increase in absolute terms. They are clearly identified as priority areas for research into their causes and treatment. However, it is clear that there is a great need for more epidemiologic information, particularly regarding prostatism, whose occurrence is unknown in many parts of the world.
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