Skip to Content

Enlarged Prostate (BPH)


An enlarged prostate,

or BPH, is a common condition in men older than 40. The prostate is normally the size of a walnut. It may get larger because the number of cells increases. This kind of BPH is called benign prostatic hyperplasia. It may get larger because the cells you already have get bigger. This kind of BPH is called benign prostatic hypertrophy. Benign means it is not cancer. The prostate wraps around the urethra. An enlarged prostate will press on the urethra. This may cause problems with storing urine or emptying your bladder completely.

Male Reproductive System

Common signs and symptoms of BPH:

  • Urinating 8 or more times each day
  • A feeling of not fully emptying your bladder when you urinate
  • An urgent need to urinate that you could not put off, or urinating again within 2 hours
  • Being woken from sleep because you needed to urinate
  • Trouble starting your urine flow, or a need to push or strain to get it to start
  • Urine that stops and starts several times when you urinate
  • A weak urine stream, or dribbling after you urinate

Call your doctor or urologist if:

  • You see blood in your urine.
  • You are not able to urinate.
  • Your bladder feels very full and painful.
  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


may include any of the following:

  • Watchful waiting means you do not receive treatment right away. Your signs and symptoms will be monitored over time to see if they get worse. You may be asked to keep a record of how much liquid you drink and how often you urinate. The record will include when you urinate, how easy or difficult it was, and any changes in urination. You will bring the record to follow-up visits. Your healthcare provider may also recommend ways to improve your symptoms during watchful waiting.
  • Medicine may be used to relax the muscles in your prostate and bladder. This may help you urinate more easily. You may also need medicine that blocks the production of a hormone that causes the prostate to get larger. It may help to slow the growth of the prostate or shrink it. You may need medicine to reduce fluid buildup. Your healthcare provider may also make changes to your current medicines if they are making your symptoms worse.
  • A procedure may be used to place a stent into your urethra to hold it open. A stent is a short, tiny mesh tube. A prostatic urethral lift, or UroLift, may be used to hold the prostate away from the urethra. This makes the urethra wider so urine can pass through more easily.
  • Surgery may be used to relieve your symptoms if other treatments do not work. Extra tissue that is causing your symptoms may be destroyed. All or part of your prostate may be removed during another type of surgery. is a minimally invasive procedure to widen your urethra. The procedure is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate. Prostate tissue is held away from both sides of the urethra with permanent implants. This helps make it easier for you to urinate. A prostatic urethral lift may also be called the UroLift® System.

What you can do to manage BPH:

  • Urinate on a regular schedule. This will train your bladder to hold urine longer. A larger amount of urine may make it easier to urinate.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about all your medicines. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines can make BPH worse. Do not start any new medicines before you talk to your provider.
  • Drink less liquid during the day. Do not have liquid for several hours before you go to bed at night. Do not drink large amounts of any liquid at one time.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine. These can irritate your bladder and make your symptoms worse.
  • Eat less salt. Salt can cause fluid buildup and make it harder to urinate. Examples of salty foods are chips, cured meats, and canned soups. Do not use table salt.
  • Elevate your legs if you have swelling. Elevate (raise) your legs above the level of your heart. This can relieve swelling caused by fluid buildup. You may not have to get up in the night to urinate.
    Elevate Leg
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Obesity increases your risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA can make you need to get up in the night to urinate. Exercise can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. A lack of exercise may make BPH symptoms worse. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
    Walking for Exercise

Follow up with your doctor or urologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Enlarged Prostate (BPH) (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptom checker Guides (External)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.