Benign prostate enlargement, also known as an enlarged prostate is a condition that can affect how you pass urine. BPE is common in men that are aged over 50. It isn’t a cancer, and, usually, isn’t a serious threat to your health.
The prostate is a small gland, located in the pelvis, between the penis and bladder. If the prostate becomes enlarged, it can place pressure on the bladder and urethra. This can affect how you pee and may cause:
In some men, the symptoms are mild and don’t need treatment. In others, they can be very troublesome. Many men worry that having an enlarged prostate means they have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. This isn’t the case. The risk of prostate cancer is no greater for men with an enlarged prostate than it is for men without an enlarged prostate.
The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown, but its believed to be linked to hormonal changes as a man gets older. The balance of hormones in your body changes as you get older and this may cause your prostate gland to grow.
You might have several different tests to find out if you have an enlarged prostate. Your GP may do some of these tests, like a urine test, but others might need to be carried out at a hospital. Some tests may be needed to rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms to BPE such as prostate cancer.
Treatment for an enlarged prostate will depend on the severity of your symptoms. If you have mild symptoms, you won’t usually need immediate treatment but you will have regular prostate check-ups.
You will probably also be advised to make lifestyle changes, such as:
Medication to reduce the size of the prostate and relax your bladder may be recommended to treat moderate to severe symptoms of BPE. Surgery is only usually recommended for moderate to severe symptoms of BPE that have failed to respond to medication.
If you experience any of the symptoms then you should contact your GP straight away.