BPH affects the part of the prostate that is adjacent to the urethra (the outlet pipe of the bladder), and as a result it is very common for lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) to develop. These symptoms have been referred to in various ways: you may have heard of the terms prostatism, Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), or water work troubles. They all refer to the same symptom complex and most commonly are referred to as LUTS by urologists. We divide urinary symptoms into two main groups..
Irritative BPH Symptoms
- Urgency: a feeling of needing to pass urine immediately for fear of leaking urine (being incontinent)
- Frequency: voiding more than once in a two hour period
- Nocturia: getting up multiple times a night to pass urine
Main BPH Symptoms
- Reduced flow
- Longer time taken to empty bladder
- Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
- Dribble of urine after finishing voiding (post micturition dribble)
- Straining to empty your bladder (stranguria)
All or just some of these symptoms maybe present and it is possible that one in particular may predominate. With increase in the severity of these symptoms there is obviously a serious impact on the quality of a man’s life. In fact, it is not uncommon for men with very bad symptoms to know the whereabouts of all public toilets in his local area through frequent use and also to try to prevent a mishap.
These symptoms, most commonly, are due to benign (not cancerous) enlargement of the prostate gland. In simple terms, the prostate, which is located directly under the bladder, grows as men get older resulting in restriction of urine flow through the outlet pipe of the bladder (urethra) and hence the symptoms.
Symptoms, due to an enlarged prostate / BPH, may initially be obstructive and progress to become more irritative in nature as changes within the bladder wall develop due to the long standing blockage. There are, however, no hard and fast rules with prostate enlargement / BPH. On occasions symptoms improve naturally without any treatment, others remain unchanged, whilst in some men may progress and become more severe. It is difficult to determine who will progress and, who is less likely to develop more severe symptoms.