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Ask the Doc: How do I know if I have an enlarged prostate?

Question

How do I know if I have an enlarged prostate?

Answer

Not everyone with an enlarged prostate will know about it because there aren’t always symptoms.

The most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate affect urination. This is because the prostate surrounds the urethra (the tube that runs from the base of the bladder to the tip of your penis) and when it becomes enlarged it can restrict the flow of urine. So, you might get a sudden urge to urinate or need to go to the toilet more often than normal. You might find it difficult to start urinating or when you stop, the flow might slow to a dribble.

The symptoms of prostate enlargement can also be symptoms of other problems so if you notice them you should see your doctor. You might be referred for an ultrasound to measure the size of your prostate or be sent for a blood test.

Prostate enlargement affects most men as they age. Your doctor can help you manage your symptoms or recommend medication or surgery that might help. Lots of men choose to manage their symptoms rather than risk some of the side-effects of treatment.

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A/Prof Tim Moss
A/Prof Tim Moss

Associate Professor Tim Moss has PhD in physiology and more than 20-years’ experience as a biomedical research scientist. Tim stepped away from his successful academic career at the end of 2019, to apply his skills in turning complicated scientific and medical knowledge into information that all people can use to improve their health and well being.

Tim has written for crikey.com and Scientific American’s Observations blog, which is far more interesting than his authorship of over 150 academic publications. He has studied science communication at the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science in New York, and at the Department of Biological Engineering Communication Lab at MIT in Boston.

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