Enlarged prostate: what are the causes and symptoms?

Enlarged prostate: what are the causes and symptoms?

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland only found in males that is near the bladder and is part of the male reproductive system.1,2 

How common are prostate problems?

Prostate problems can affect anyone with a prostate, including men, transgender women and intersex people. Conditions that can affect the prostate include: prostate enlargement (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia , prostatitis (prostate inflammation) and prostate cancer .1,2 An enlarged prostate is common in older people, with about 1 in 2 having some kind of prostate enlargement after the age of 50.1

What causes an enlarged prostate and how do I know if my prostate is enlarged?

Having an enlarged prostate does not mean you have cancer – it is usually a benign condition. What causes an enlarged prostate isn’t exactly known, but because it mainly occurs in older men, it is thought to be linked to factors associated with ageing (like changes in hormones).2

As the prostate grows/enlarges it puts pressure on the urethra (where urine exits the body)2– so the common symptoms that accompany an enlarged prostate are associated with difficulties in urination, such as:2

  • Frequent urination (eight or more times a day)
  • Urinary urgency
  • Nocturia (frequently needed to urinate at night)
  • Problems starting a urine stream
  • A weak or interrupted urine stream
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Urinary retention (unable to empty all urine from bladder)
  • Urinary incontinence


What tests will my doctor do?

Diagnosing an enlarged prostate usually involves a few tests, and you may even be referred to a specialist called a urologist. Tests include:1,2  

  • A physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Taking a urine sample
  • An ultrasound or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • A biopsy

You don’t have to just live with symptoms of an enlarged prostate – there are treatments available.2  Urinary symptoms can accompany an enlarged prostate may also overlap with more serious conditions such as  prostate cancer .2 So it is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you notice any changes in urination, so that they can provide a diagnosis before commencing appropriate treatment. 

More information

Find out more on prostate cancer today!

This blog is provided for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for your own healthcare professional's advice. It should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any medical procedure or treatment carries risks. Individual treatment outcomes and experiences will vary.

Contact us today!