Know the basics
What is enlarged prostate?
The prostate is a gland producing the fluid which carries sperm during ejaculation. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body. An enlarged prostate means the gland has grown bigger, it usually happens to almost all men as they get older.
An enlarged prostate is often called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is not cancer, and it does not raise your risk for prostate cancer.
It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of enlarged prostate?
Symptoms of enlarged prostate can include:
- A weak or slow urinary stream;
- A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying;
- Difficulty starting urination;
- Frequent urination;
- Urgency to urinate;
- Getting up frequently at night to urinate;
- A urinary stream that starts and stops;
- Straining to urinate;
- Continued dribbling of urine;
- Returning to urinate again minutes after finishing.
Call your provider right away if you have:
- Less urine than usual;
- Fever or chills;
- Back, side, or abdominal pain;
- Blood or pus in your urine.
Men who have had BPH for a long time with slowly worsening symptom may develop:
- Sudden inability to urinate;
- Urinary tract infections;
- Urinary stones;
- Damage to the kidneys;
- Blood in the urine.
BPH may come back over time even after having surgery.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What are the causes of enlarged prostate?
As a matter of fact, the real cause of prostate enlargement is unknown. Factors linked to aging and changes in the cells of the testicles may have a role in the growth of the gland. Statistics show that a small amount of prostate enlargement is present in many men over age 40. Men who have had their testicles removed at a young age (for example, as a result of testicular cancer) do not develop BPH. Also, if the testicles are removed after a man develops BPH, the prostate begins to shrink in size.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for enlarged prostate?
Prostate enlargement may be the most common health problem in men older than 60 years of age. More than 90% of men over age 80 have the condition.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is enlarged prostate diagnosed?
Your health care provider will ask you questions about your medical history and do a digital rectal exam to feel the prostate gland. Other tests you may have, include:
- Urine flow rate;
- Post-void residual urine test to see how much urine is left in your bladder after you urinate;
- Pressure-flow studies to measure the pressure in the bladder as you urinate;
- Urinalysis to check for blood or infection;
- Urine culture to check for infection;
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer;
How is enlarged prostate treated?
The treatment you choose will be based on how bad your symptoms are and how much they bother you. Your provider will also take into account other medical problems you may have.
Treatment options include waiting, lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially after dinner;
- Do not drink a lot of fluid all at once, spread out fluids during the day instead;
- Try not to take over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines that contain decongestants or antihistamines;
- Keep warm and exercise regularly. Cold weather and lack of physical activity may worsen symptoms;
- Learn and perform Kegel exercises (pelvic strengthening exercises);
- Reduce stress. Nervousness and tension can lead to more frequent urination.
- Alpha-1 blockers are a class of drugs that are also used to treat high blood pressure. These medicines relax the muscles of the bladder neck and prostate, which allows easier urination.
- Finasteride and dutasteride lower levels of hormones produced by the prostate. These drugs also reduce the size of the gland, increase urine flow rate, and decrease symptoms of BPH.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat chronic prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), which may occur with BPH. BPH symptoms improve in some men after a course of antibiotics.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the size and shape of your prostate gland, the type of surgical procedure will be chosen:
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP);
- Simple prostatectomy;
- Other, less-invasive procedures use heat to destroy prostate tissue.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage enlarged prostate?
There is no proven way to prevent prostate enlargement as it is a common part of aging. But, you are likely to reduce the risk of being prostate enlargement by:
- Avoid drinking liquids after 6 p.m. to reduce the need to urinate frequently during the night;
- Drinking more fluid, up to eight glasses of water per day, may help prevent infection;
- Using cranberry juice may be helpful in the prevention of urinary tract infections in those who are prone to developing these.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Enlarged Prostate: A Complex Problem. http://www.webmd.com/men/prostate-enlargement-bph/features/enlarged-prostate-bph-complex-problem#1. Accessed September 4th, 2016.
Enlarged prostate. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000381.htm. Accessed September 4th, 2016.
Enlarged Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH). http://www.emedicinehealth.com/enlarged_prostate/article_em.htm. Accessed September 4th, 2016.
Review Date: September 26, 2016 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019