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Prostate, enlarged - How do doctors diagnose an enlarged prostate?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you have symptoms such as needing to urinate more often during the day and night, and find it difficult to put off urinating, you should see your doctor. Your doctor will probably want to do some tests to check your prostate.

There is no one test that tells your doctor, "This patient has an enlarged prostate". Symptoms of BPH can look like symptoms of other conditions. For example, needing to urinate often is a sign of diabetes. Your doctor may carry out some tests to find out for certain what's causing your symptoms.[3] For more, see Tests to check your prostate health.

You may be worried that an enlarged prostate means you have prostate cancer because the symptoms for both conditions are similar. But BPH is not cancer. And having BPH doesn't increase your chances of getting prostate cancer.[19]

If you have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, your doctor will probably carry out tests to make sure that you don't have prostate cancer. The two most common tests are a digital rectal examination and a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). In a digital rectal examination a doctor puts a gloved and lubricated finger into your back passage (rectum) to check whether your prostate is enlarged, has lumps on it, or feels strange in some other way. A PSA test measures how much PSA is in your blood. If your PSA level is raised, this can be a sign of prostate cancer.

Unfortunately, these tests can't tell you for sure whether you have prostate cancer. They can only tell you the chance that you have it or don't have it. If your doctor thinks there's a high chance that you have prostate cancer, you may need to have a biopsy. This is when your doctor removes small pieces of tissue from your prostate. This tissue is then looked at under a microscope to check for cancer cells. See our section on prostate cancer if you'd like more information about this disease.



Diabetes is a condition that causes too much sugar (glucose) to circulate in the blood. It happens when the body stops making a hormone called insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when insulin stops working (type 2 diabetes).


The rectum is the last 15 to 20 centimetres (six to eight inches) of the large intestine, ending with the anus (where you empty your bowels from).

For more terms related to Prostate, enlarged


For references related to Prostate, enlarged click here.
Last Updated: October 08, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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