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Facts about enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Enlarged Prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia has many similar symptoms to Prostate Cancer so needs checking out.

An enlarged prostate means the prostate gland is growing bigger. Given the gland is very close to the urethra (the tube that empties the bladder) it can cause urination and bladder problems.

Enlarged prostate, sometimes referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia or benign prostatic hypertrophy is common in men as they grow older and is NOT prostate cancer. Having BPH doesn’t mean you are at any increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

Enlarged Prostate causes

The causes of enlarged prostate (BPH) are not fully understood but it is known that the main risk factor is age and nearly a third of men over 50 are thought to have symptoms. Over 50% of men in their 60’s and nearly all men in their 70’s are thought to suffer some symptoms of enlarged prostate. For most men, the prostate will start to enlarge in the 40’s or 50’s.

Enlarged Prostate Symptoms

The symptoms of enlarged prostate are very similar to prostate cancer symptoms which is why it is necessary to be aware and vigilant. Early detection saves lives so if in doubt contact your GP or ProstateHealth UK.

Enlarged prostate (BPH) symptoms include:

  • Frequent need to urinate (especially at night)
  • Straining or difficulty passing urine
  • Weak urine flow (stopping and starting)
  • Sudden urgent need to urinate
  • Blood in the urine (this is less common)

If left untreated, enlarged prostate can lead to bladder infections and bladder stones.

Enlarged prostate diagnosis

Because the symptoms of enlarged prostate are very similar to prostate cancer, it is important to rule this out. 

Enlarged prostate (BPH) treatment

The treatment for enlarged prostate will depend on the severity of your symptoms. If your symptoms are mild to moderate you may be asked to have regular check-ups to monitor your prostate. Additionally, you may be advised to make some lifestyle changes such as reducing the amount of fluids you drink before bedtime or reducing alcohol intake. Other treatments may include bladder training to increase the capacity of your bladder.

For moderate to severe symptoms you may be offered medication such as Finasteride or Dutasteride. These are hormone blockers that can help reduce the size of the prostate gland thus reducing symptoms. Additionally, you may be prescribed alpha blockers to relax the bladder muscles making it easier to pass urine.

If the drugs do not work, or if the symptoms are more severe or complications have occurred, surgical treatment may be needed. This includes TURP (trans-urethral resection of the prostate) where excess prostate tissue is removed or TUIP (trans-urethral incision of the prostate) where the prostate is cut to allow the urethra to be widened. If the prostate is larger, laser excision (Holmium prostatectomy) can be done via the urethra.

If you have any concerns about your symptoms please contact us and we can discuss this with you and advise you on the best course of action.

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