Prostate Enlargement

The prostate gland is a male organ that can be located immediately below the bladder. It wraps around the urethra (the tube that carries the urine from the bladder to the penis). The average prostate is approximately the size of a walnut. After 40 years of age, as part of the normal ageing process, each man’s prostate starts to grow. As the prostate increases in size, it constricts the urethra and therefore obstructs the flow of urine. This enlargement of the prostate is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and is NOT prostate cancer.

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The likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate increases with age.

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BPE is common in men aged over 50. It's not a cancer and it's not usually a serious threat to health.

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The size of your prostate doesn't necessarily determine the severity of your symptoms.

Additional Information

Causes

The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown, but it’s believed to be linked to hormonal changes as a man gets older.

Symptoms

Storage Symptoms (problems with holding urine in the bladder)

  • Frequent urination
  • Waking at night to pass urine
  • Urgent need to pass urine
  • Urinary urge incontinence, where the
  • Urine leaks out without any control by the patient

Voiding Symptoms (problems with urinating)

  • It takes a while for the urine to start flowing out
  • Patients have a slow urine stream
  • The urine flow starts and stops
  • It takes a long time to finish urinating
  • Occasionally, the patient may not be able to pass urine at all
  • Dribbling of urine into the underpants after urination

Procedure & Treatment

The urologist will take a detailed history, and perform a physical examination, including a digital rectal examination (DRE). Other bedside tests may be performed, including a urine dipstix test, an ultrasound scan of the renal tract and a urine flow study. A blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) will probably be requested. Depending on the clinical findings, the urologist may prescribe medication or recommend one of many surgery options for an enlarged prostate gland.

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