BPH (Enlarged Prostate)
11 Symptoms of BPH
Benign Prostate Hypertrophy
In all likelihood, you don’t want to spend much time thinking about your prostate. But if you are having problems urinating, your prostate might be what’s keeping you up at night. Benign prostate enlargement or hypertrophy/hyperplasia (also known as BPH) is a common condition in men as they age. Prostate tissue can enlarge in response to certain hormones. It can swell and block the flow of urine from the bladder, causing uncomfortable symptoms and potentially infection.
Do you have the symptoms of BPH? On the following slides, learn about 11 of the most common problems associated with BPH.
Difficulty Starting Urination
Urinary hesitancy can slowly become a problem over time with BPH. An enlarged prostate can press against the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. Subsequently, it becomes increasingly more difficult to begin urination. It can take longer to build sufficient pressure for urine to pass this restriction.
Eventually, this can lead to urinary retention, in which you become unable to urinate. The bladder swells and becomes painful. This can be a medical emergency due to the potential damage to your kidneys.
Red Light Green Light?
Starting and stopping urination can be a frustrating symptom of BPH. The enlarged prostate can press on the urethra, preventing urine from easily flowing out of the bladder. Even if the urine stream starts, the flow can be interrupted frequently. You may try to force out more urine by straining surrounding muscles.
Weak Urine Stream
It might take a very long time to empty your bladder when you have BPH because of a weak urinary stream. You may find yourself spending a very long time standing in front of the urinal. If the urethra is partially blocked due to pressure from the prostate, only a small flow of urine can escape the bladder, resulting in weak urine flow and a long, long wait for empty.
Dribbling at the End of All Things
You may have the uncomfortable problem of thinking you’ve finished urinating, shaking a bit just to be sure, and then tucking yourself away… only to be surprised as a little bit of urine dribbles out into your underwear.
The urethra is not simply a straight tube. With weak urine flow and the pressure build up behind the restriction created by your enlarged prostate, urine can collect in the upper part of the tube. Even when you think you are finished and you no longer feel any more urine in your bladder, that extra bit can come out as you relax.
Gotta Go, Gotta Go
Urgency is a common problem with the incontinence problems that BPH causes. The nerves inside your bladder may no longer be able to signal your brain properly, leaving you with a sudden, dramatic need to urinate and an uncomfortable feeling in your bladder. This can also be referred to as spastic bladder. Spastic bladder can potentially be a symptom of urinary tract infection or diabetes, so talk to your doctor if you are experiencing urinary urgency.
As you get older, it may get harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. It doesn’t make it any easier if one of the things waking you up is the need to urinate several times a night. Nocturia is a condition that can cause you to wake up two or more times a night to urinate. Pressure from the enlarged prostate and obstruction of the urethra can lead to irritation of the bladder and problems with proper nerve signaling. This can result in frequently waking up and feeling like you have to urinate, when there’s actually very little liquid that you need to void.
Wishing For Empty
The obstruction of your urethra caused by BPH and the signaling changes in your bladder may result in an inability to completely empty your bladder. This can give you an uncomfortable feeling and other complications. Special exercises and certain medications may help with these symptoms, and other urinary changes that are the result of BPH.
Straining for the Goal
In order to start urination, you may have to push or strain the pelvic or abdominal muscles to start urine flow. Repeated strain of these muscles may result in muscle injury to the pelvic floor, hemorrhoids, or micturition syncope (fainting during or after urination). You may strain in order to force urine past a blockage. If the pressure or blockage increases, you may be at risk for urinary tract infection or urinary retention.
Retaining urine or inefficient emptying of the bladder can result in an increased risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). Strain on the bladder and urine remaining inside the bladder for too long can create an environment in which bacteria thrives. A UTI can aggravate certain BPH symptoms such as urgency, making it increasingly likely you will be visiting the bathroom more frequently. You may also have pain during urination or potentially cloudy or bloody urine. A fever may also be possible. Most doctors will check for a UTI if you complain of urinary symptoms. UTIs are often treated with antibiotics before medications are taken for BPH-related urinary symptoms.
Retaining urine in the bladder due to BPH can also result in bladder stones. Bladder stones form when the urine retained in your bladder becomes concentrated and minerals crystallize out of the liquid. Bladder stones can be very painful and cause additional urinary symptoms, as they can block the flow of urine through the bladder and urethra. The stone may pass out of the bladder and through the urethra if the stone is small and you drink enough water. More complex treatment may be required if the stone is big or does not easily pass.
Stagnant urine in the bladder, a blocked urine flow, and UTIs can potentially result in kidney damage. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic showed that kidney damage and disease was three times more likely in men who experience BPH. The buildup of pressure caused by the urinary obstruction harms the bladder and kidneys. Treating BPH and relieving obstructions before this damage occurs is important for long-term kidney health.
The symptoms described in this slideshow are often indicators of BPH, but they can also be signs of a more serious condition, such as prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. He or she will be able to help you pinpoint the cause of these uncomfortable symptoms and treat them before long-term damage occurs.
- Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. (2013, June). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia
- Bladder stones. (2013). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 23, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bladder-stones/DS00904/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
- Dull, P. et al. (2002). Managing Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. American Family Physician, 66(1), 77-85. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0701/p77.html
- Neurogenic Bladder. (2012). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/neurogenic_bladder/hic-neurogenic-bladder.aspx
- Prostate Enlargement: Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. (2012, March). National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/prostateenlargement/
- Prostate Gland Enlargement. (2011). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prostate-gland-enlargement/DS00027/DSECTION=symptoms
- Urinary incontinence. (2013). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/urinary-incontinence/types.html
- Urinary Retention. (2012, June). National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/UrinaryRetention/#cause
- Urination – difficulty with flow. (2011). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003143.htm
- Urination – excessive at night. (2011). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003141.htm
- Vasovagal Syncope. (2011). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/micturition-syncope/AN01608