The prostate is a gland in men. It helps make semen, the fluid that contains sperm. The prostate surrounds the tube that carries urine out of the body. As men age, their prostate grows bigger. If it gets too large, it can cause problems. An enlarged prostate is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Most men will get BPH as they get older. Symptoms often start after age 50.
BPH is not cancer, and it does not seem to increase your chance of getting prostate cancer. But the early symptoms are the same. Check with your doctor if you have
- A frequent and urgent need to urinate, especially at night
- Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble
- A urine stream that is weak, slow, or stops and starts several times
- The feeling that you still have to go, even just after urinating
- Small amounts of blood in your urine
Severe BPH can cause serious problems over time, such as urinary tract infections, and bladder or kidney damage. If it is found early, you are less likely to develop these problems.
Tests for BPH include a digital rectal exam, blood and imaging tests, a urine flow study, and examination with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatments include watchful waiting, medicines, nonsurgical procedures, and surgery.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Benign Prostatic Hyperstatic Hyperplasia (BPH) (Beyond the Basics) (UpToDate)
- Prostate Enlargement: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Blood in Urine (Hematuria) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Medical Tests for Prostate Problems (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- MRI of the Prostate (Radiological Society of North America, American College of Radiology) Also in Spanish
- Prostate Ultrasound (Radiological Society of North America, American College of Radiology) Also in Spanish
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Urinary Retention (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
Treatments and Therapies
- Saw Palmetto (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- Treating Enlarged Prostate (BPH): Which Drugs Work Best (Consumers Union of U.S.) - PDF Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Prostatic Hyperplasia (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Anesthetic Concerns for Patients Undergoing a Transurethral Resection of the...
- Article: Prospective evaluation of prostate with transrectal spectral Doppler with biopsy...
- Article: Economic Evaluation Study (Cheer Compliant) Laser Prostatectomy for Benign Prostatic...
- Enlarged Prostate (BPH) -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Directory of Kidney and Urologic Diseases Organizations (National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse) - PDF
- Find a Urologist (Urology Care Foundation)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases