Definition, Symptoms, & Treatment Of Enlarged Prostate


The prostate is a gland that is found only in men. This chestnut-sized gland is located between the bladder and the penis, just in front of the rectum. The urethra, the tube which passes urine from the bladder, runs through the center of the prostate. The function of the prostate is to produce and secrete a fluid that enriches and protects sperm.

The prostate grows bigger and enlarges in older men over 50 years of age. The condition of enlarged prostate is called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH in medical language. This enlargement results in pressure on the urethra and consequent urination and bladder problems. BPH is not cancer and is not a risk factor for prostate cancer. The causative factors for prostate enlargement are unknown.

The following are the symptoms of enlarged prostate (BPH):

  • Urinary hesitancy
  • Urinary dribbling
  • Poor or weak urinary stream
  • Urinary retention
  • Incontinence
  • Urinary frequency
  • Urinary urgency
  • Hematuria or bloody urine
  • Straining to urinate

If you consult your doctor due to one or more of the above symptoms, he/she will conduct a digital rectal exam, review your medical history and symptoms before deciding on tests to conduct to arrive at a diagnosis. The doctor may conduct one or more of the following tests:

  • Urinalysis
  • Urinary blood test to screen for bladder cancer
  • PSA to screen for prostate cancer
  • Ultrasound of the prostate
  • Cystoscopy of urethra or bladder
  • Post-void residual volume (PVR) to measure urine retention in the bladder after urinating
  • Uroflowmetry to measure speed of urine flow
  • Urodynamic pressure to test pressure in the bladder during urinating

If you are diagnosed with BPH, your doctor will refer you to a urologist who is a specialist in the treatment of urinary problems including prostate problems. Several choices of treatments are available for prostate enlargement, including watchful waiting, medication, minimally invasive therapies, and surgery. Your urologist formulates a treatment plan depending on your diagnosis, your age, and several other factors. Your urologist may opt for watchful waiting if your symptoms are tolerable and postpone the treatment.

  • Watchful waiting
  • Drug Therapy (Medication)
  • Laser therapy
  • Embolization
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
  • Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)
  • Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT)
  • Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA)
  • Prostatectomy
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