Do You Have BPH? How to Recognize the Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate


About the size of a walnut in a young man, the prostate gland is located beneath the bladder. The gland grows slowly as men age, pressing on the bladder and part of the urethra. In some men, this enlargement begins to cause urinary symptoms by mid-life. Half of all men have trouble urinating by age 60, and the rate rises to 9 out of 10 by age 70. By age 80, about 20 to 30 percent of men require some form of treatment for an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

BPH symptoms are divided into two categories: obstructive and irritative. Some unlucky men have a combination of the two.

Obstructive BPH symptoms may include:

  • Frequent and urgent need to urinate both day and night
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak urine flow
  • Stopping and starting urine flow while urinating
  • Feeling of being unable to completely empty the bladder
  • Unexpected bedwetting

Irritative BPH symptoms may include:

  • Frequent and urgent need to urinate both day and night
  • Leakage of urine before getting to the bathroom
  • Sexual dysfunction and changes in ejaculation

The mere fact that the prostate enlarges doesn’t mean that a man is destined to suffer bothersome symptoms-upwards of 60 percent of men with enlarged prostates have no complaints whatsoever. Doctors still do not fully understand why some men develop symptoms from prostatic enlargement and others do not.

If you have symptoms, see your doctor. A careful medical evaluation can determine whether it is BPH or some other condition. If it is BPH, a variety of options for management are available.