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Prostate Enlargement

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Enlarged Prostate

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Updated December 11, 2006

Prostate enlargement is very common and it affects half of all men over the age of 60 and about eighty percent of men over 80 years of age. Why the prostate should enlarge is not known but it is thought to be related to the effect of male hormones, including testosterone, on the aging gland. A history of prostate enlargement in your family also increases the odds that you too will experience the problem.

Interesting facts about enlarged prostate
Married men experience prostate enlargement more that single men. American and European men are more likely to get prostate enlargement than Asian men.

Signs symptoms prostate enlargement
Signs and symptoms vary from person to person with only about half of men with prostate enlargement experiencing any difficulties. Signs and symptoms can include, difficulty with starting to urinate, difficulty maintaining a constant flow of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, feeling you need to urinate frequently, increasing need to urinate during the night night, urgency to urinate, not being able to empty your bladder completely, urinary tract infections, blood in your urine.

Diagnosis of enlarged prostate
It's important to find out what is causing your symptoms so that an appropriate follow up or, where appropriate, treatment course can be put in place. Tests will evaluate and eliminate other more serious diseases that cause the same sort of signs and symptoms such as prostate cancer, prostatitis, a bladder stone, heart failure, diabetes, a neurological condition, or medication side effects.

Your doctor will ask for details of your signs and symptoms, a medical and family history. Tests may include a digital rectal exam to feel for prostate enlargement (embarrassing, slightly uncomfortable, but very important), a urine test to eliminate other diseases with similar symptoms and a blood test to detect high levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen). If these all indicate prostate enlargement then other tests may be required.

Diagnostic tests for enlarged prostate

  • cystoscopy, using a local anesthetic to pass a lens into the urethra and bladder to see if any abnormalities are present.
  • Intravenous pyelogram, X raying the urinary tract as a dye is injected into a vein that shows up tumors or blockages.
  • Urinary flow test, (measures the strength and amount of urine flow), ultrasound, urodynamic studies, postvoid residual
  • volume test can also be helpful to make the diagnosis of prostate enlargement.
  • When is treatment necessary for an enlarged prostate
    Once the cause of your prostate enlargement is diagnosed then you and your doctor can decide on how you should proceed. If your symptoms are mild regular checks ups to make sure the cause of your prostate enlargement remains non-threatening to your health may be best. More severe symptoms will require active treatment.

    See your doctor for evaluation if you are having problems urinating. Always seek urgent treatment for blood loss or an inability to pass urine.

    Video: What is Prostate Cancer?

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