Could It Be an Enlarged Prostate?

If you always have to pee, you might have benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Up and down all night making frequent trips to the bathroom? Frequent urination is one sign of an enlarged prostate, or what your doc might call benign prostatic hyperplasia. That's the enlargement of the prostate, which hinders the flow of urine through the urethra so you constantly feel like you've gotta "go."

An enlarged prostate isn't cancerous, nor does it increase your chances of developing prostate cancer, but it's certainly inconvenient and annoying—and frequent urination is just the beginning. Here are other signs of an enlarged prostate:

  • Strong, sudden, and frequent urge to urinate
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Weak or intermittent urinary stream, with dribbling at the end
  • Feeling like your bladder doesn't completely empty when you urinate

Sooner or later nearly all guys have to deal with an enlarged prostate. Why is it so common? The only known risk factor for benign prostatic hyperplasia is having normally functioning testicles. According to the National Institutes of Health, some men start having signs of benign prostatic hyperplasia as early as 40 and more than 90% of all men over the age of 80 have an enlarged prostate.

Your doctor will diagnose an enlarged prostate after evaluating your symptoms and doing a direct rectal exam to determine if your prostate is enlarged. Your doc will also check your urine for blood or signs of infection. If you've had an enlarged prostate for a long time, you may also get a blood test to measure creatinine to check for kidney damage.