When to see a doctor (Enlarged prostate)

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Contact a doctor urgently if you experience any of the following:

  • Inability to pass urine (retention)

  • Severe difficulty passing urine

  • Blood in urine

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Urinary tract infection or other complication of BPH

  • Suspected kidney impairment

Consult a doctor if you experience any bothersome symptoms.

The acute (sudden) inability to pass urine is painful and will necessitate a hospital or doctor’s visit. Retention of urine can also come on slowly with a progressively worsening stream and eventual overflow incontinence.

In this scenario the bladder never empties properly, which can lead to obstructive kidney failure and other complications such as infections or stones.

Blood in the urine should never be assumed to be due to prostatic enlargement unless all other more serious causes, such as bladder cancer, have been ruled out.

Any man over 50 years should have a yearly prostate check to rule out prostate cancer. Black men, who are at higher risk for this kind of cancer, and men with a positive family history of prostate cancer should start their prostate checks at age 40. The aim of yearly prostate checks in is to diagnose prostate cancer early, when it is still curable.

Early prostate cancer is usually completely asymptomatic. Men who have had previous surgery for BPH (i.e. TURP or open prostatectomy) are not exempt from the risk of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer classically develops in the outer part of the gland, which is not removed during operations for BPH.

Read more:
What can go wrong with the prostate?
The prostate, hormones and fertility

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