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Enlarged prostate - what to ask your doctor

Definition

The prostate gland often grows larger as men get older. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). An enlarged prostate may cause you problems with urinating.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse about your prostate.

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about enlarged prostate; Benign prostatic hypertrophy - what to ask your doctor; BPH - what to ask your doctor

Questions

What is the prostate gland?

  • Where is it in my body?
  • What does the prostate gland do?

What causes the prostate gland to enlarge? Do many other men have prostate problems? How do I know my problem is not prostate cancer?

What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate?

  • Will these symptoms get worse? How quickly?
  • Can any of these symptoms be harmful or dangerous?

What tests should I have?

How can I treat my symptoms at home?

  • Is it okay to drink alcohol? How about coffee and other drinks with caffeine?
  • How much fluid should I drink during the day?
  • Are there medicines that may make my symptoms worse?
  • Are there exercises that can help with my symptoms?
  • What can I do so that I do not wake up at night as much?

I have heard there are different herbs and supplements that may improve my symptoms? Is this true? Are these herbs or supplements safe to use?

What medicines may help?

  • Are there different types? How are they different?
  • Will they make my symptoms go away completely?
  • Does their benefit wear off over time?
  • What side effects should I look for?

Questions to ask when thinking about having surgery for an enlarged prostate?

  • Have I tried all the different safe treatments and medicines that may help?
  • How quickly will my symptoms get worse if I do not have surgery?
  • What are the serious medical problems that can happen if I do not have surgery?
  • If I do not have surgery now, does that make having surgery later less effective or more dangerous?

What are the different types of surgery that I can have?

  • Are there surgeries that are better for my situation?
  • Will I ever need another surgery for a large prostate? Does one kind of surgery help for longer?
  • What are the side effects of the different surgeries? Is one surgery more likely to cause problems with erections? With urinary incontinence?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital after the surgeries? How long will it take to recover?
  • Is there anything I can do before surgery to make recovery easier?

Review Date: 4/15/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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