How dangerous is BPH?

A good measure of the seriousness of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) -- enlarged prostate -- is the severity, or frequency, of your symptoms. BPH is not a life-threatening condition and will not lead to worse disease such as prostate cancer. But if urinary symptoms worsen, BPH can become extremely bothersome and cause anxiety and worry.

Some evidence suggests that the more severe symptoms of BPH are associated with an increased risk of developing a serious condition called acute urinary retention (which is the inability to urinate despite a strong urge to do so). Episodes of acute urinary retention are very unusual. But if it does occur, you should treat it like an emergency and get immediate medical attention.

BPH can also become more serious if bladder function deteriorates. If the bladder becomes more sensitive to the urine that is left in it after urinating, incontinence can occur. Fortunately, incontinence also is unusual.

For the vast majority of men, BPH is nothing more than an annoyance.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.