What can happen if benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is not treated?

Assuming that no urinary tract complications (such as bladder stones or acute urinary retention) that need to be treated exist, the course of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) -- enlarged prostate -- is very difficult to predict. Every man is different, and the response to having no treatment may vary from man to man. The severity, or frequency, of a man's symptoms might help predict the outcome, though. Some men with mild, or infrequent, symptoms actually get better, but most stay about the same or gradually get a little worse.

Men who experience severe, or very frequent, symptoms are less likely to see improvement in their condition without treatment; but the symptoms may not get much worse either. Still the chance that men with severe symptoms will need treatment later on is greater. A progressive decrease in the size and force of urinary stream and the feeling that the bladder has not completely emptied after urinating are two symptoms that seem to be most closely related to the eventual need for treatment. If treatment is needed, there is a full range of options -- some with very low risk. Remember, when BPH-related problems become overly bothersome to you, it is appropriate to seek treatment.

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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.