Enlarged Prostate

The prostate glands usually enlarge in older men. This can lead to problems while urination. Mild symptoms are observed and can improve over time without medication. However, if they worsen, medications are available.


  • Most common prostate problem in men
  • 1 in 3 men over the age of 50 have urinary symptoms

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Enlarged Prostate

2 treatment(s) for Enlarged Prostate

Dutasteride
  • Treats enlarged prostate glands
  • Helps to urinate easily
  • It is a long-term treatment


Finasteride (Enlarged Prostate)
  • Treats enlarged prostate glands
  • Helps you to urinate easily
  • It is a long-term treatment


DescriptionCausesTypes of treatmentQuestions and answers

The prostate gland is found in males. It surrounds the neck of the bladder. On an average, it is around the size of a chestnut. The main function of the prostate is to produce a special fluid which enriches and protects the sperm. It can often become enlarged in older men. This is a natural part of the aging process, but if left untreated it can lead to a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).


BPH or the enlarged prostate grand blocks the flow of urine through the urethra. The prostate cells slowly multiple. This creates pressure on the urethra. Due to this, the bladder cannot be emptied completely. In some cases, this blockage results in stagnation and backing up of urine. This can cause urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and kidney damage.

BPH is not prostate cancer nor a symptom leading to one. It is a common treatable condition in older men. Your doctor can advise you the best possible option based on your conditions. Most men do not seek medical help until it becomes very difficult to fall asleep during the night because of the frequent urge of urination.


To learn more about enlarged prostate, see the comprehensive patient information leaflet

Symptoms of BPH are referred to as lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). As the prostate gradually expands, it starts to pinch at the urethra and causes a narrowing effect. The narrow squeezed urethra starts to work harder in order to pass urine. As time goes on, this causes the muscles of the bladder to grow weaker, which means the struggle to pass urine only becomes more difficult. Prolonged exposure to this can eventually develop the following symptoms.


  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Dribbling when you finish
  • A slow and weak urinary stream
  • Getting up frequently at night to urinate
  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
  • It also takes longer than usual to empty your bladder


The symptoms of BPH are typically mild to start off with but can become much more serious and troublesome later on in life. Unforeseen complications can develop in certain cases. However, an enlarged prostate doesn’t always correlate to BPH symptoms; approximately only 30-50% of men will experience this. It is also true that the size of your prostate isn't always related to the severity of symptoms; it depends entirely on how much the prostate ends up obstructing the urethra.

There are many treatments for enlarged prostates. However, many side effects follow them as well. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor might suggest the treatment.


Watchful Waiting

If your symptoms do not bother you much without any serious complications, he might ask you to wait and watch. However, your doctor will advise you a yearly visit to see if changes appear in your symptoms. The things he might ask you to observe would be:


  • Number of times you need to urinate
  • If there is an urgent need to urinate
  • The sensation that your bladder is full even after urination
  • A weak and slow stream of urine
  • Dribbling after urination
  • Trouble starting


While waiting, your doctor will also ask you to take care of a few things:

  • Avoid drinking a lot of liquid before bedtime
  • Reduce the consumption of caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid medicines like decongestants or antihistamines such as Benadryl (this can worsen prostate problems)


Medicines

There are two slightly different types of medicines that can help: alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. These medicines do not totally cure the condition or make the symptoms disappear entirely. They do tend to help significantly ease the unpleasantness of symptoms. The two BPH medicines are:


Alpha-Blocker Medicines

Alpha blockers relax the muscles of the prostate and the neck of the bladder. This reduces the symptoms of BPH. These medicines work by soothing the smooth muscle of the prostate which ultimately helps create an improved flow of urine. Lots of different alpha-blocker brands exist but there is no real difference in the effectivity of the different types. However, their side-effects differ. The effect of these medicines differs from person to person. Some will see a difference after a couple days while for others, it can take up to 4-6 weeks.


5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors

5-alpha reductase inhibitors shrink the prostate preventing further growth. These are alternatives to alpha-blockers. There are two different types: dutasteride and finasteride. They work by blocking the conversion of the hormone testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. This is achieved by blocking the enzyme named 5-alpha-reductase. This type of BPH treatment has been shown to significantly reduce the need for surgery, improve prostate symptoms, and reduce the risk of overall complications. The effect of these medicines differs from person to person. It can take up to 6 months to notice any initial effect. This is the time prostate takes to shrink.



If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.


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How common is BPH and are there risk factors that come with the condition?

It is an extremely common condition in the UK with 50% of all men developing BPH symptoms. Only 10%, however, will ever need medical attention or surgery.


Is BPH always treated?

NO. BPH treatment options are typically for men who show serious symptoms leading to major complications. For those who are generally unfazed by the symptoms, watchful waiting with yearly medical monitoring would be an appropriate advice.


Is watchful waiting considered a treatment for BPH?

YES. Those who are not notably affected by symptoms of BPH will often choose to take this treatment option. There is no medical treatment given to them but they are advised regular check-ups to see if the condition gets better or worsens.


Does an enlarged prostate indicate cancer?

NO. BPH is not prostate cancer nor a symptom leading to one.



If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.


Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!