Enlarged Prostate Symptoms
The size of the prostate does not always determine how severe the obstruction or the enlarged prostate symptoms will be. Some men with greatly enlarged glands have little obstruction and few symptoms, while others (whose glands are less enlarged) have more blockage and greater problems.
Sometimes a man may not know he has any obstruction until he suddenly finds himself unable to urinate at all. This condition, called acute urinary retention, may be triggered by taking over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines. Such medicines contain a decongestant drug, known as a sympathomimetic. This type of drug may lead to a side effect that prevents the opening of the bladder from relaxing and allowing urine to empty. When partial obstruction is present, urinary retention also can be brought on by alcohol, cold temperatures, or a long period of immobility.
It is important to tell your doctor about urinary problems such as those described above. In 8 out of 10 cases, these symptoms suggest an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), but they can also signal other, more serious conditions that require prompt treatment. These conditions, including prostate cancer, can only be ruled out by a doctor's exam.
Impact of Severe Enlarged Prostate SymptomsSevere BPH can cause serious problems over time. Urine retention and strain on the bladder can lead to:
- Urinary tract infections
- Bladder or kidney damage
- Bladder stones
If the bladder is permanently damaged, BPH treatment may be ineffective. When BPH is found in its earlier stages, there is a lower risk of developing such complications.