Prostate Issues

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. As men get older, the prostate enlarges and prostate issues become more likely. The two most common prostate-related conditions include benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as enlarged prostate, and prostate cancer, which affects one in seven men during their lifetime according to the American Cancer Society, and is the second leading cause of cancer in men.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is common in men as they age. During male puberty, a growth spurt occurs in the prostate, and for unknown reasons, can occur again in men around age 50. When the second growth spurt happens, the enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine through the urethra. As the bladder fights to pass urine out through the blocked urethra, the bladder wall thickens and can cause urinary issues.
Symptoms of BPH
The following symptoms are associated with BPH: 
  • Increased frequency and/or urgency of urination
  • Weak stream of urine
  • Start-and-stop flow
  • Incomplete emptying
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain with urination or ejaculation
  • Unusual smell or color of urine 

Symptoms of BPH also can overlap with those of more serious urological conditions, including prostate cancer.

The two main risk factors are advancing age and a family history of BPH. Other predisposing factors include obesity, heart disease and diabetes; sedentary lifestyle; and erectile dysfunction.

Diagnosing BPH
During an annual exam or if you are experiencing any symptoms of BPH, your urologist will perform a thorough physical examination and obtain a complete medical history. During a digital rectal exam, your doctor feels your prostate gland via your rectum using a gloved, lubricated finger. Other tests that may help diagnose BPH include the following: 
  • Urinalysis
  • Urodynamic tests (to measure the pressure in the bladder during urination)
  • Cystoscopy (direct visualization of the urethra)
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test (which screens for prostate cancer) 

Treating BPH
If you have been diagnosed with BPH, the main treatment options available, to be determined by you and your doctor, include the following:
  • Lifestyle changes consisting of diet modification, fluid restriction, weight management, exercise and avoidance of medications known to aggravate the symptoms of BPH.
  • Medications that can shrink or relax the prostate gland; medications may be combined when symptoms are more severe.
  • Surgery options range from minimally invasive procedures that use lasers to reduce excess prostate tissue to surgery to remove part of the prostate. The most common procedure is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) . 

Prostate Cancer
About 220,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society. The exact cause of prostate cancer remains unknown. Changes occur within the cells in the prostate that cause them to grow abnormally and become cancerous.
Prostate cancer can often be detected at an early stage by measurement of PSA in the blood or a rectal exam, and addressed with the many new treatments now available. Our specialized care team of oncologists and urologists at Houston Methodist can screen for prostate cancer, confirm the diagnosis and individualize treatment to achieve the best outcome.


Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in managing prostate issues at the following convenient locations: