Benign Prostatic Enlargement

Benign prostatic enlargement is the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate.It refers to benign prostatic hyperplasia (increase in the number of cells) or hypertrophy (increase in cell size). Benign prostatic enlargement is the most common prostate disease in men. Typically, the prostate grows to the size of a walnut, but may begin to grow again when a man reaches middle age. The reasons for this growth are not fully known. By the age of 80, 80% of men have benign prostate enlargement. Benign prostate enlargement causes symptoms in many older men.

As the prostate is positioned around the urinary tract, the enlargement of the prostate makes the urinary tract narrow and puts pressure on the base of the bladder. Narrowing of the urinary tract can affect the passing of urine in a number of ways.

Benign prostatic enlargement is not a life threatening condition, but if left untreated for a prolonged period of time, it has the potential to cause problems with the function of the bladder, and less commonly, the kidneys.

What are the Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate?

An enlarged prostate presses on the urethra. The pressure can obstruct the flow of urine through the urethra. Obstruction of the flow of urine can cause problems, including:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night (nocturia)
  • Weak urine flow
  • Sudden urge to urinate (urgency)
  • Trouble starting and stopping your urine stream (hesitation)
  • Inability to completely empty your bladder
  • Pushing or straining to urinate
  • Pain or burning during urination