Prostrate, Enlarged

(Prostate Hypertrophy; Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy; BPH)



Enlargement of the prostate (a gland surrounding the neck of the bladder and urethra in the male). The enlargement does not cause problems unless it obstructs the flow of urine from the bladder. It occurs more often in men over age 50.

Signs & Symptoms 

  • Increased urinary urgency and frequency, especially at night.
  • Weak urinary stream.
  • Straining and dribbling on urination.
  • Feeling that the bladder cannot be emptied completely.
  • Urine of abnormal color.
  • Impotence (sometimes).
  • Burning on urination.


Exact cause unknown, may be due to hormonal changes that accompany aging.


  • Diagnostic tests may include digital rectal examination, a urinary flow rate with post-void residual and a cystourethroscopy (visual examination, with a lighted instrument, of the inside of the urinary bladder and urethra). Intravenous pyelogram, biopsy, or ultrasound may be used.
  • The degree of difficulty you are experiencing from BPH should be determined with a question-and-answer interview about your specific symptoms. This can help in making treatment decisions, and then, after treatment, provides a good indication of degree of improvement.
  • Urinary retention, hydronephrosis (kidney disorder), azotemia (excess urea in the blood) and worsening obstructive symptoms are the usual indications for treatment.
  • Surgery—transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)—may be recommended.  Complications are rare, but are of great concern to patients. Balloon dilatation of the prostate is sometimes effective in patients with mild obstruction. Invasive surgery called microwave therapy is also available.
  • Treatment with medications is an option.


There are several types of medications that have been developed for BPH and these methods can be discussed with your medical provider.

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