How Enlarged

Prostate is Diagnosed

To begin with, it is important to know what an enlarged prostate actually is before it can be diagnosed. This is a non-cancerous condition that is also referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. In recent years, it has also been referred to as lower urinary tract symptoms or LUTS because many men who have the symptoms of an enlarged prostate do not actually have an enlarged prostate.

The Gland

The prostate gland is specific to males and encircles the urethra, which is how urine exits the body. BPH typically gets worse as men get older and could possibly result in the blockage of the urethra and cause problems with urination. If a male does not have an enlarged prostate, then the reason for the symptoms is due to the increased tone of the bladder neck muscles. There are three levels of symptoms that are classified as mild, moderate, or severe.

Even though BPH does not lead to death, it is still essential that it get diagnosed as soon as possible. In the worst cases of BPH, urine is trapped in the bladder that could result in chronic urinary tract infections and damage to the kidneys or bladder. These complications can be avoided for the most part if the condition is treated quickly.

Men who are older than 50 years of age are prone to BPH symptoms. 60% of all men aged 55 or older develop symptoms of this condition. In most cases, it is not necessary to seek treatment from a specialist. A primary care doctor can relieve the symptoms of a straightforward case of BPH. Even though treatment is encouraged, many men prefer to deal with the symptoms rather than treat them.

Risk Factors

The factors that lead to the development of an enlarged prostate are the aging process and testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, which are both normal hormones found in men. The hormone referred to as 5a-reductase turns testosterone into dyhydrotestosterone when it is present in the prostate gland, which then leads to the enlargement of the gland. The levels of DHT in enlarged prostates are quite a bit larger than in normal prostates. It is interesting to note that BPH does not develop in men who have had their testicles removed before the age of 40, which is indicative of the role testosterone plays in this condition.

Asians are the only population where BPH does not occur with the same frequency as in other populations. The reason for this appears to be environmental factors because Asians who have come to the United States get BPH with the same frequency as see in other races. Black men are diagnosed at an average age of 60, which is five years earlier than when white men are diagnosed.


The most prevalent symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate are straining when attempting to urinate, urine hesitation, stopping and starting of the urine flow, the inability to stop urination, a decreased urine flow, and the increased need to urinate even after voiding. In addition, the need to urinate increases as well as the urgency to urinate.


To begin with, your physician might have you fill out the international prostate symptom scale or ISPS to determine how severe your condition is. Following this, he will take your medical history and complete a physical exam and urinalysis to verify the presence of an enlarged prostate. He will also perform a digital rectal exam to see if there are nodules or asymmetry of the prostate. If he believes cancer might be present, he will order more tests. He may also to a urinalysis and microscopic analysis of the sediment in the urine to make sure you do not have a urinary tract infection.

He may also test your urinary flow rates to gauge the severity of the condition. This can also be done through straight catheterization or an ultrasound of the bladder.

It is possible that you will also be given a prostate-specific antigen or PSA test. After you turn 50 years old, this test should be administered once your physician has reviewed the risks and advantages to detecting prostate cancer early. In the event that you have family members who have had prostate cancer, or you are black, you will be given a PSA test starting at age 40 or 45.