The prostate is a gland in men. It helps make semen, the fluid that contains sperm. The prostate surrounds the tube that carries urine out of the body. As men age, their prostate grows bigger. If it gets too large, it can cause problems. An enlarged prostate is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Most men will get BPH as they get older. Symptoms often start after age 50.
BPH is not cancer, and it does not seem to increase your chance of getting prostate cancer. But the early symptoms are the same. Check with your doctor if you have
- A frequent and urgent need to urinate, especially at night
- Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble
- A urine stream that is weak, slow, or stops and starts several times
- The feeling that you still have to go, even just after urinating
- Small amounts of blood in your urine
Severe BPH can cause serious problems over time, such as urinary tract infections, and bladder or kidney damage. If it is found early, you are less likely to develop these problems.
Tests for BPH include a digital rectal exam, blood and imaging tests, a urine flow study, and examination with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatments include watchful waiting, medicines, nonsurgical procedures, and surgery.