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The prostate gland is only about the size of a walnut, but because of its position just below the bladder and surrounding the urethra (urine tube) it can cause problems for some men when it gets bigger.

The prostate may enlarge very slowly over a long period of time. It's a common condition in men as they age and symptoms can gradually appear and worsen.

 

Symptoms of An Enlarged Prostate

  • Slow and/or interrupted stream or flow
  • Needing to go to the toilet more often
  • Difficulty starting to pass their urine
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Straining to pass their urine
  • Passing little or no urine despite the urge to go
  • A feeling that they haven’t emptied their bladder
  • Dribbling after passing urine
  • Urgency or a need to rush to the toilet
  • Needing to get up the toilet several times during the night (nocturia)
  • A feeling they need to go to the toilet again just after they’ve been
  • Discomfort passing urine
  • Blood stained urine

Many men can have a combination of symptoms.

Common Prostate Problems

There are a number of common medical prostate problems that result in an enlarged prostate:

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
    This is when the prostate gets bigger but is not due to cancer. This often starts in middle age and many men will need surgery to treat this problem. There are many successful treatments for this prostate problem and it does not lead to cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
    This can occur before experiencing any warning signs. A doctor can find it with a blood test called a PSA and the doctor can also find changes in the prostate with a digital rectal examination. This is a common cancer and there are treatments available. They should be discussed with the doctor
  • Prostatitis
    This is swelling and soreness of the prostate gland. This can be due to a bladder infection and is more common in young men.

Managing The Symptoms

The symptoms of an enlarged prostate are largely related to difficulties relating to the passing of urine. Many men with these problems get upset and embarrassed by it.

If you have any of the symptoms listed above then you should seek professional medical advice to ensure you're on the right management and/or treatment plan. Your GP or a continence nurse can help you diagnose the cause and manage the symptoms.

To avoid the potential embarrassment of poor bladder control many men use incontinence aids such as male guards (also called male shields), or, for high levels of leakage, they use pull-up pants.

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The Light Blue Ribbon:
The light blue ribbon is commonly used to indicate awareness for prostate cancer causes.
For further information and support resources on prostate cancer contact the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia at https://www.prostate.org.au