Out of the Closet: BPH Sufferers Find Relief in a Variety of Treatments
Clothing may make the man, but at the end of the 19th century, accessories were what counted most for men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). No finery did more for men suffering from enlarged prostates than bowler hats, walking sticks or umbrellas. For stashed discreetly in the hat bands or hollow cane-shafts were one of the few means of relief for a man suffering from BPH-related restricted urine flow: a catheter.
BPH, an enlargement of the prostate is a common condition in men more than 50 years old. The growing organ compresses the urethra and causes an obstruction of urine, making it difficult to empty the bladder completely. A century ago, reasonable treatments—such as transurethral resections of the prostate—weren't available. But that didn't stop physicians from attempting to treat this ailment. Centuries passed as doctors tried a number of different treatments, such as the notion advanced by Pennsylvania's William J. White in 1893 that the removal of testicles