Enlarged Prostate

Tests and Exams

If you are experiencing symptoms of an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is usually shortened to BPH, you will want to make an appointment with your physician.

To begin with, your physician will need to rule out conditions other than BPH to ensure the correct course of treatment is prescribed. Typically, he will take your medical history, perform a physical examination that includes a focus in the urinary tract, a urine test, and a blood test. He might also order a neurological exam to rule out the possibility that there is damage to the nerves around and to the bladder. He might ask you to fill out a survey like the American Urological Association (AUA) symptom index to determine whether or not the symptoms are interfering with your life. This is not a diagnosis tool.

Which Tests are Generally Performed?

1. The first test that is usually administered is a digital rectal exam. This allows the doctor to evaluate the firmness and size of the prostate gland. The size is not proportional to the severity of the symptoms. Someone who has a very large prostate might not be experiencing many symptoms or the other way around.

2. The second test usually administered is a urinalysis and urine culture to see if a urinary tract infection is present that could be leading to the symptoms.

3. Next, the doctor will administer a blood creatinine test kidney function.

4. Finally, the doctor will administer a prostate-specific antigen or PSA test that will screen you for prostate cancer. This is because the symptoms of BPH are often similar to prostate cancer.

Which Tests May Be Performed?

1. Physicians could choose to administer a post-void residual urine test or PVR. This test measures how much urine remains in the bladder following urination. An ultrasound is used to perform this test or a catheter is inserted into the bladder by way of the urethra.

2. The doctor might order a pressure flow test that determines how much pressure is in the bladder as you urinate. This is often used to determine if there is some sort of blockage that is causing the symptoms or if it is a neurological issues instead.

3. Doctors might also order a cystometrogram, which is a test that determines how much pressure is in the bladder and how much urine the bladder can store. Included in this test is auroflometry test that can determine how quickly or slowly urine is flowing from the bladder.

4. An ultrasound might be ordered to see how large the kidneys, prostate, and bladder are. A transducer is put into the rectum to examine the prostate.

5. To examine the inside of the bladder and/or urethra, the doctor might perform a cystoscopy , which will so help him determine how much of the urethra is blocked by an enlarged prostate.

6. The doctor might also perform an intravenous pyelogram or IVP which is essentially an x-ray that is used to determine kidney function and whether or not urine is flowing adequately to the bladder from the kidneys.

7. The last test that might be administered is a spiral or helical computed tomography or CT scan that is basically an x-ray that is designed to see detailed images of various parts of the body. Such scans can determine if an enlarged prostate, an obstruction, or inadequate urine flow is responsible for the symptoms.

Screening Tests

Right now, there are no tests that can screen for an enlarged prostate. However, it may be possible to determine if an enlarged prostate is present through a variety of other screening exams that are usually performed to screen for rectal cancer or prostate cancer. This included the PSA test and the digital rectal exam. The majority of physicians suggest that a digital rectal exam and a PSA test are given to every man who has reached the age of 50 or more every year. This is to screen for prostate cancer. However, there are some doctors who say this is not necessary because the administration of these exams is not necessarily effective in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer. Your individual need for screening exams is dependent on any other risk factors that are present. It is necessary to speak with a physician about your particular situation.