What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Prostate enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a common condition that affects older men. It’s usually not a serious threat to health.

Enlarged prostate

The prostate is a small gland located between the penis and bladder. If the prostate becomes enlarged, it can place pressure on the bladder and urethra, the tube through which urine passes. This can affect how you pass urine, because it may cause:

  • difficulty starting urination
  • a frequent need to urinate
  • difficulty emptying the bladder fully.

These symptoms may range from mild to severe.


Should you be worried?

Many men worry that having an enlarged prostate means that they have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. This isn’t the case. Men with prostate enlargement don’t have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared to men without an enlarged prostate.


How common is prostate enlargement?

Prostate enlargement is a common condition that’s associated with ageing. The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown, but most experts agree that it’s linked to changes in hormone levels in a man’s body due to ageing.



Prostate enlargement isn’t usually a serious threat to a man’s health.

In some men, the symptoms are mild and don’t require treatment. In others, symptoms can be serious and have a major impact on quality of life.

Complications of prostate enlargement can include urinary tract infections (UTIs) or acute urinary retention (AUR) but serious complications are rare.

There are several treatments available for prostate enlargement, including:

  • lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • medication
  • surgery.