BPH (Enlarged Prostate) 

The prostate is a gland at the base of the bladder. As some men get older, the prostate may get bigger. This problem is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH puts pressure on the urethra. This is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. It may interfere with the flow of urine. It may also keep the bladder from emptying fully.

Symptoms of BPH include trouble starting urination and feeling as though the bladder isn’t emptying all the way. It also includes a weak urine stream, dribbling and leaking of urine, and frequent and urgent urination (especially at night). BPH can increase the risk of urinary infections. It can also block off urine flow completely. If this occurs, a thin tube (catheter) may be passed into the bladder to help drain urine.

If symptoms are mild, no treatment may be needed right now. If symptoms are more severe, treatment is likely needed. The goal of treatment is to improve urine flow and reduce symptoms. Treatments can include medicine and procedures. Your healthcare provider will talk about treatment options with you as needed.

Home care

The following guidelines will help you care for yourself at home:

  • Urinate as soon as you feel the urge. Don't try to hold your urine.

  • Don't limit your fluid intake during the day. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water or liquids a day. This prevents bacteria from building up in the bladder.

  • Don't drink fluids after dinner. This helps to reduce urination during the night.

  • Don't take medicines that can make your symptoms worse. These include certain cold and allergy medicines and antidepressants. Diuretics used for high blood pressure can also make symptoms worse. Talk with your healthcare provider about the medicines you take. Other choices may work better for you.

Prostate cancer screening

BPH does not increase the risk of prostate cancer. But because prostate cancer is a common cancer in men, screening is sometimes advised. This may help find the cancer in its early stages when treatment is most effective. Factors that can increase the risk of prostate cancer include being African American or having a father or brother who had prostate cancer. A high-fat diet may also increase the risk of prostate cancer. Talk with your healthcare provider to see if you should be screened for prostate cancer.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised

To learn more, go to:

  • National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse kidney.niddk.nih.gov, 800-891–5390

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or as advised

  • Unable to pass urine for 8 hours

  • More pressure or pain in your lower belly (bladder)

  • Blood in the urine

  • Increasing low back pain that is not linked to injury

  • Symptoms of urinary infection (increased urge to urinate, burning when passing urine, bad-smelling urine)

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