The symptoms of prostate enlargement are called lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), but these can also be caused by other conditions. As the prostate enlarges it may cause the first part of the urethra to narrow, which in turn may partially obstruct the flow of urine. Because of this symptoms can include:
- A poor urine stream where the flow of urine is weaker, and it takes longer to empty your bladder.
- Hesitancy in passing urine – you have to wait at the toilet for a while before urine starts to flow.
- Poor emptying of the bladder – you may have a feeling of not quite emptying your bladder.
- Dribbling towards the end of passing urine.
An enlarged prostate may also make the bladder irritable that can cause:
- Frequency, which is the passing of urine more often than normal. Getting up several times a night is a common symptom and is called nocturia.
- Urgency, which is needing to reach the toilet quickly when you need to go.
Usually symptoms are mild to begin with but over months or years they may become more troublesome and severe. Complications may develop in some cases.
However, an enlarged prostate does not always cause symptoms. Only 25-50% of men with an enlarged prostate will have symptoms. Also, the severity of the symptoms is not always related to the size of the prostate. Rather, it depends on how much the prostate obstructs the urethra.
What possible complications of protate enlargement are there?
Symptoms do not worsen in everyone and serious complications are unlikely to occur in most men with an enlarged prostate.
In 1% of cases, urinary retention can occur, which is when a total blockage of urine occurs and the person will no longer be able to pass urine. In this case, a catheter will need to be inserted to drain the bladder.
Another possible complication is chronic retention, where only some of the urine in the bladder is emptied when passing urine. This may cause recurring urine infections, or incontinence.
Have an enlarged prostate does not increase the risk of prostate cancer. Men with a benign prostate enlargement are no more or less likely to develop prostate cancer than those without the condition.