Prostate Disorders Bph Symptoms

Incontinence and other bladder control difficulties characterize enlarged prostate symptoms, caused as the expanding prostate presses against the urethra. Symptoms include:

  • an urgent need to urinate
  • the leaking of urine (also known as dribbling)
  • frequent urination
  • nocturia (frequent urination during the night)
  • a slow stream of urine
  • hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • acute urinary retention
  • urinary tract infection
  • incontinence.

While the above symptoms usually indicate benign prostatic hyperplasia, they can be signs of more serious conditions, including cancer. Consult your doctor to rule out non-BPH causes.

Bladder Control and Urinary Retention

Acute urinary retention is perhaps one of the most alarming BPH bladder control symptoms: the sudden inability to urinate at all. Over-the-counter allergy and cold medications often contain sympathomimetic agents, which can trigger acute urinary retention by preventing the bladder sphincter from relaxing. Cold temperatures, long periods of immobility, and alcohol consumption can also aggravate BPH and cause acute urinary retention.

BPH: Making the Medical Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects BPH, a full medical history will be taken, probably using a system known as symptom scoring. BPH symptom scoring is a list of questions devised by the American Urological Association. The questions gather information about a man’s urination habits, frequency of urinary tract infection, and any bladder control difficulties he may be experiencing. Each answer is given a symptom score. The final score helps your doctor to evaluate the severity of your symptoms, and to decide whether to pursue further testing.

Diagnostic Tools

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): Your general physician can perform this test. The doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to determine the size of the prostate by feel.

Urine Flow Study: The speed of the urine flow is measured. A low rate of urine flow (fifteen ml per second or less) indicates possible BPH.

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP): An intravenous pyelogram, or IVP, is a specialized x-ray of the urinary tract. Dye is injected into the body through a vein. As the IVP dye is excreted into urine the fluid becomes visible in an x-ray, revealing the location of the urine and possible obstructions in the urethra.

Cystoscopy: A cystoscopy is performed under local anesthetic. A fiber optic tube is inserted through the opening of the urethra at the head of the penis. The tube contains a small camera that sends signals to a monitor. The urologist can see obstructions on the monitor.

Ultrasound: This diagnostic tool is used if cancer is suspected. Sound waves are used to construct an image of the prostate.

Urinalysis: This is a series of lab tests performed on a urine sample. A urinalysis is used to rule out or confirm urinary tract infection, and hematuria (blood in the urine).

Prostate Specific Antigen Test (PSA): This test measures prostate proteins. It is most often used to rule out cancer.


Abbot Laboratories. (nd). How is the severity of urinarysymptoms assessed? Retrieved January 20, 2003, from

Medical College of Wisconsin. (updated 2000). Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): causes, symptoms and diagnosis. Retrieved January 19, 2003, from