What Is Prostate Enlargement?

Prostate enlargement, medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common condition that affects aging men, typically occurring after the age of 50. The prostate, a small gland located below the bladder and surrounding the urethra, plays a crucial role in the male reproductive system by producing fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. However, as men age, hormonal changes can lead to the enlargement of the prostate, causing it to press against the urethra and hinder the normal flow of urine. This results in various urinary symptoms, such as increased frequency, urgency, difficulty initiating urination, and a weak urinary stream. While prostate enlargement is considered a natural part of the aging process, its impact on urinary function can significantly affect a man’s quality of life.



Types of prostate enlargement

Prostate enlargement primarily manifests in two main forms: benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH):

This is the more common type of prostate enlargement and is considered a non-cancerous condition. As men age, the prostate gland often undergoes an enlargement due to changes in hormone levels, particularly an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The enlarged prostate can compress the urethra, leading to various urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, urgency, weak urine stream, and difficulty emptying the bladder. BPH is generally a benign and non-life-threatening condition, but it can significantly impact a man’s quality of life.

Prostate Cancer:

While less common than BPH, prostate cancer is a more serious and potentially life-threatening form of prostate enlargement. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland mutate and multiply uncontrollably. Early stages of prostate cancer may not cause noticeable symptoms, but as the disease progresses, symptoms may include difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, and erectile dysfunction.

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Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement:

The common symptoms of prostate enlargement are:

  • Men with prostate enlargement may experience a need to urinate more frequently than usual, especially during the night.
  • A sense of urgency to urinate, often accompanied by difficulty holding back the need to go, is a common symptom.
  • Prostate enlargement can lead to a weakened or diminished urine stream during urination.
  • Despite urinating, individuals with an enlarged prostate may feel that their bladder is not completely empty.
  • After finishing urination, some men may experience dribbling or leakage of urine.
  • Prostate enlargement can result in the need to exert extra effort or strain while trying to empty the bladder.
  • The urge to urinate during the night can disrupt sleep patterns for men with an enlarged prostate.
  • In more advanced cases or with certain prostate conditions, blood may be present in the urine.
  • Some individuals may experience pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, lower back, or during ejaculation, although these symptoms are less common.



What Are the Causes of Prostate Enlargement?

The exact cause of prostate enlargement, particularly benign prostatic hyperplasia is not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development.


The risk of prostate enlargement, especially BPH, increases with age. It is a common condition in older men, and the majority of men will experience some degree of prostate enlargement as they age.

Hormonal Changes:

Changes in hormonal levels, specifically an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, are associated with the growth of the prostate gland. Hormonal fluctuations that occur with aging contribute to the development of prostate enlargement.

Family History:

A family history of prostate enlargement may increase the risk. If a man’s father or brother has had prostate enlargement, he may be more likely to develop the condition.


Some studies suggest that ethnicity may play a role, with African-American men having a higher risk of developing prostate enlargement compared to other ethnic groups.

Lifestyle Factors:

Certain lifestyle factors may contribute to prostate enlargement. These include a diet high in red meat and fat, obesity, and lack of physical activity.

Medical Conditions:

Other medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, may be associated with an increased risk of prostate enlargement.

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What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Enlargement?

Several risk factors are associated with an increased likelihood of developing prostate enlargement, particularly benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It’s essential to be aware of these factors, as they can help identify individuals who may be at a higher risk.


The risk of prostate enlargement increases with age. It is a common condition in older men, and the likelihood of developing BPH rises significantly after the age of 50.

Family History:

A family history of prostate enlargement or prostate cancer can increase the risk. If a man’s father or brother has had BPH, he may be more prone to developing the condition.


Studies suggest that ethnicity may play a role in the risk of prostate enlargement. For example, African-American men have been reported to have a higher risk compared to other ethnic groups.

Hormonal Changes:

Changes in hormone levels, specifically an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), contribute to the growth of the prostate gland. Hormonal fluctuations associated with aging can influence the development of prostate enlargement.

Lifestyle Factors:

Certain lifestyle choices and health conditions can impact the risk of prostate enlargement. These include a diet high in red meat and fat, obesity, lack of physical activity, and the presence of other medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Medication and Health Conditions:

Some medications and health conditions may be associated with an increased risk of prostate enlargement. For example, certain medications used for treating heart conditions may contribute to urinary symptoms.



Diagnosis of Prostate Enlargement:

The common techniques required for diagnosis of prostate enlargement includes:

1. Medical History and Physical Examination:

The diagnosis of prostate enlargement typically begins with a comprehensive medical history and a physical examination. During the medical history, the healthcare provider will inquire about symptoms, their duration, and any factors that may exacerbate or alleviate them. A digital rectal examination (DRE) is often performed during the physical examination to assess the size, shape, and consistency of the prostate gland. This examination allows the healthcare provider to detect any abnormalities, such as enlargement or nodules.

2. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test:

A PSA blood test is a common diagnostic tool used to measure the levels of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Elevated PSA levels may indicate various prostate conditions, including enlargement or cancer. However, it’s important to note that an elevated PSA level does not definitively diagnose prostate enlargement, and additional tests are often required for a more accurate assessment.

3. Urinalysis:

Urinalysis may be conducted to rule out other urinary tract issues and to check for signs of infection or blood in the urine. While an enlarged prostate can cause urinary symptoms, other conditions such as urinary tract infections may present with similar signs.

4. Urodynamic Tests:

In some cases, urodynamic tests may be recommended to assess the function of the bladder and urethra. These tests can provide valuable information about the pressure and flow of urine during voiding and may help determine the extent to which the enlarged prostate is affecting urinary function.

5. Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS):

A transrectal ultrasound involves the use of a small probe inserted into the rectum to create detailed images of the prostate. This imaging technique allows healthcare professionals to assess the size and structure of the prostate gland and identify any abnormalities.

6. Cystoscopy:

Cystoscopy is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera (cystoscope) is inserted into the urethra to visually examine the prostate and bladder. This procedure helps rule out other conditions and provides a direct view of the urinary tract.

7. Biopsy (if necessary):

In cases where prostate cancer is suspected, a biopsy may be recommended. This involves taking a small tissue sample from the prostate for examination under a microscope to determine if cancerous cells are present.

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Treatment for Prostate Enlargement:

The common treatment options in consideration includes:

1. Lifestyle Modifications:

In some cases, mild to moderate symptoms of prostate enlargement can be managed through lifestyle changes. These include avoiding caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evening, as they can irritate the bladder. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and managing stress can contribute to overall prostate health. Making these lifestyle modifications may help alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with mild prostate enlargement.

2. Medications:

Several medications are available to manage the symptoms of prostate enlargement. Alpha-blockers, such as tamsulosin and terazosin, relax the muscles of the prostate and bladder neck, easing urinary flow. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, like finasteride and dutasteride, can reduce the size of the prostate by blocking the hormones that contribute to its growth. Combination therapy using both alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors may be prescribed for more significant symptom relief. Medications are often a first-line treatment for moderate to severe cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

3. Minimally Invasive Procedures:

For cases where medications prove insufficient, minimally invasive procedures may be considered. Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT) and Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) are techniques that use heat to reduce excess prostate tissue, improving urine flow. Another option is the UroLift system, a minimally invasive procedure that lifts and holds the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way, opening the urethra. These procedures are often outpatient and offer faster recovery compared to traditional surgical options.

4. Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP):

TURP is a surgical procedure commonly used to treat significant prostate enlargement. During this procedure, a portion of the enlarged prostate is removed to alleviate urinary obstruction. TURP is considered a standard surgical option for individuals with severe symptoms that do not respond to medications or less invasive procedures. While effective, TURP requires hospitalization and may have a longer recovery period compared to minimally invasive options.

5. Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE):

PAE is a relatively newer and less invasive procedure for treating prostate enlargement. During PAE, small particles are injected into the blood vessels supplying the prostate, reducing blood flow and causing the prostate to shrink. This procedure is performed by interventional radiologists and may be an option for individuals who are not candidates for surgery or prefer a less invasive approach.



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#Read All The FAQ


To alleviate symptoms of prostate enlargement, consider lifestyle modifications such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol, maintaining a healthy diet, staying physically active, and managing stress. These changes can contribute to improved urinary function and overall prostate health.

While no specific foods can cure prostate enlargement, incorporating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins is generally beneficial. Some studies suggest that certain foods like tomatoes, which contain lycopene, may have a positive impact on prostate health. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized dietary recommendations.

Some over-the-counter supplements, such as saw palmetto, have been explored for their potential benefits in managing prostate enlargement symptoms. However, the effectiveness of these supplements varies, and it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before using them to ensure safety and appropriateness for individual health.

Alpha-blockers, such as tamsulosin, and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, like finasteride, are commonly prescribed medications for managing symptoms of prostate enlargement. Combination therapy may also be recommended. It’s important to take prescribed medications as directed and to communicate any side effects to the healthcare provider.

Surgical interventions, such as Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP), are considered when symptoms are severe and not responding to medication or less invasive treatments. The decision to undergo surgery is based on the individual’s overall health, the size of the prostate, and the severity of symptoms. Consulting with a urologist can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan for specific cases of prostate enlargement.

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