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Enlarged prostate: Benign condition or sign of something serious?

Enlarged prostate: It’s a condition that affects a whopping 50 percent of men over age 60 and 90 percent of men over age 85, and sometimes it has no symptoms, says Micah Blackmon, M.D., a urologist at Piedmont Physicians Group.  

“Men frequently confuse enlargement of the prostate with prostate cancer,” says Dr. Blackmon. “The truth is, they are not related.”

Half of men with enlarged prostate will experience severe symptoms and these symptoms can vary. 

Nocturia, or waking at night to urinate 
Urgency to urinate 
Increased urination frequency
Slowing of urine stream 
A feeling that the bladder isn’t completely empty
Leaking or dribbling urine 

Complications

Left untreated, enlarged prostate can lead to a number of complications, from uncomfortable to serious: 

Recurrent urinary tract infections
Blood in the urine
Kidney and/or bladder damage 
Incontinence 
Bladder stones 
Inability to urinate, which requires the use of a catheter

Diagnosis 

It is diagnosed through:

Digital rectal exam
Ultrasound of the prostate 
Urine test to make sure there are no signs of infection that could be causing symptoms 
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which can help determine if a man is at risk for prostate cancer

Treatment options

Treatment options include medication, which can help shrink the prostate over time, or surgery for patients who do not respond to or cannot afford medication. 

“If left untreated, enlargement of the prostate [can cause you to] develop problems later on,” he says. “But the majority of men with an enlargement of the prostate just have symptoms and that’s the primary reason we treat.” 

To find a urologist near you, visit Piedmont Physicians Group

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

 

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