Symptoms and Signs of Enlarged Prostate (BPH)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 6/30/2022

Doctor's Notes on Enlarged Prostate (BPH)

Enlargement of the prostate gland in men is most commonly due to benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH). This is a nonmalignant (noncancerous) enlargement of the prostate gland, a common occurrence in older men. It is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasiaCancer of the prostate is another possible cause of an enlarged prostate gland.

Enlargement of the prostate gland due to any cause leads to symptoms and signs caused by the prostate gland compressing the urethra (urine tube) that runs through the gland. Common symptoms are a slow flow of urine and the need to urinate frequently. Other associated symptoms include

  • difficulty starting the urine stream,
  • having to wake up at night to urinate,
  • feeling unable to fully empty the bladder,
  • having to strain to urinate, or
  • having to start and stop when urinating are other signals of an enlarged prostate gland.

What is the treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Treatment for BPH is individualized based on the degree of enlargement of the gland, the severity of symptoms that may be present, and the overall health and age of the patient. Treatments can include:

  • Alpha-blocker medications to make urination easier
  • Medications are known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can shrink the prostate
  • Transurethral surgical procedures such as transurethral resection or incision of the prostate
  • Laser therapy to remove part of the gland
  • Transurethral needle ablation procedures
  • Transurethral microwave therapy
  • A prostatic urethral lift procedure to increase urine flow
  • Prostatectomy, or removal of the prostate gland

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.