Valley Urology Center
Urologists located in Renton, WA
Having an enlarged prostate is a normal part of the aging process, but you don’t have to live with the uncomfortable symptoms it can cause. The skilled urologists at Valley Urology Center in Renton, Washington, provide advanced care for a variety of prostate conditions that range from enlarged prostates to prostate cancer. For help managing your prostate health if you’re in western Washington or the Pacific Northwest, call Valley Urology Center or schedule an appointment online today.
Enlarged Prostate Q & A
What is an enlarged prostate?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, is a common condition that generally affects older men.
The prostate is a small gland underneath a man’s bladder that makes seminal fluid to transport semen. The prostate surrounds the urethra. This tube runs from your bladder through the penis so the bladder can empty.
A man’s prostate continues to grow throughout their lifetime. The precise reason for this isn’t entirely apparent, but it’s likely associated with changes in sex hormones as they age.
Just because you have an enlarged prostate gland, it doesn’t mean you have prostate cancer.
What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate?
The size of your enlarged prostate doesn’t affect the severity of your symptoms. Because the prostate surrounds the urethra, BPH generally causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms that may include:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty beginning to urinate
- A weakened urine stream, or one that starts and stops
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Being unable to completely empty your bladder
Some men with an enlarged prostate also develop urinary tract infections (UTIs), are unable to urinate, or have blood in the urine.
Who is at risk of having an enlarged prostate?
Men with the highest risk of BPH are over 40, and their chances of developing symptoms continue to grow with age. Approximately one-third of men have moderate to severe symptoms by 60, and these numbers increase to half of all men by age 80.
Additional factors that increase your risk of BPH include having a close blood relative with prostate problems, having heart disease or diabetes, and being overweight.
How is an enlarged prostate diagnosed and treated?
To diagnose BPH, your urologist discusses your symptoms and performs a comprehensive physical exam. This consultation might include:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) to physically check for enlargement
- Urine tests to rule out infection
- Blood tests to look for kidney problems
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood testing to check your PSA levels
- Urinary flow test to measure the strength and amount of urine flow
- Postvoid residual volume test to see if you can completely empty your bladder
- 24-hour voiding diary to record your urinary frequency.
For complex conditions, your urologist might also suggest screenings like transrectal ultrasound, prostate biopsy, or a cystoscopy.
The most common treatment for an enlarged prostate is medication, but your urologist might recommend additional procedures like minimally invasive or robotic-assisted surgery.
Call Valley Urology Center or schedule an appointment online today to learn more.
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