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Prostate, enlarged - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

As you get older, your prostate can get bigger and cause problems. Doctors call this condition benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It can cause symptoms such as having to urinate often during the day and at night or having a weak stream of urine. No one can tell you for sure whether your symptoms will worsen over time. And no one but you can judge how much these symptoms affect your life.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is usually harmless. The word 'benign' means the growth of your prostate isn't due to cancer. It doesn't usually get worse quickly, so you don't have to rush into having treatment. Also, having BPH does not increase your risk of getting prostate cancer.

Many men find that their BPH symptoms gradually get worse as they get older.[18] But this is not always the case. Some men find that their symptoms change slowly, and others find that they don't change at all.[5] Some men even find that their symptoms get better on their own.

It's unlikely that you'll become seriously ill as a result of your enlarged prostate. Only about 1 in 10 men get serious symptoms.

But it makes sense to see a doctor quite quickly. To read more, see Complications of an enlarged prostate. Also, getting treatment early could stop your enlarged prostate damaging your bladder.[16]

How your condition develops often depends on how severe your symptoms are to start with. In one study of men who didn't have any treatment, those with mild symptoms usually didn't get severe symptoms or need surgery during the next four years. Out of those with worse symptoms, after four years:[8]

  • Half still had the same level of symptoms

  • 1 in 4 had surgery

  • 1 in 8 developed severe symptoms

  • 1 in 8 improved and had only mild symptoms.

Surgery used to be the only treatment for BPH. Nowadays, there are a number of drugs, herbal treatments, and smaller operations that can help your symptoms. Doctors often advise men to wait and see what happens before they start treatment. To read more, see What treatments work for an enlarged prostate?

Citations

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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