Benign prostate enlargement

To find out whether your prostate gland is enlarged, you'll need to have a few tests. Some tests will be carried out by your GP and others will be carried out by a urologist.

To find out whether your prostate gland is enlarged, you'll need to have a few tests.

Some tests will be carried out by your GP and, if needed, others will be carried out by a specialist in urinary problems (a urologist).

GP examination and tests

Your GP will ask about your symptoms and your concerns, and their impact on your quality of life.

You may be asked to complete:

  • A urinary frequency-volume chart
    This will give a record of how much water you normally drink, how much urine you pass, and how often you empty your bladder on a daily basis, as well as any leakage you have. Download a chart (PDF, 115kb) from the Bladder Matters website. 
  • IPSS questionnaire
    The IPSS (International Prostate Symptom Score) questionnaire allows your doctor to better understand how serious your symptoms are. Download a version of the questionnaire (PDF, 180kb) from the Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust.

Your GP should perform a physical examination. They may examine
your stomach and genital areas.

They may also feel your prostate gland through the wall of the back passage (rectum). This is called a digital rectal examination (DRE).

Your GP may order a blood test to check that your kidneys are
working properly.

They may advise you to have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to rule out prostate cancer.

You may be offered a urine test, for example to test for glucose (sugar) or blood. This is to see if you have diabetes or an infection.

Referral to a urologist

Your GP may refer you to a urologist or other appropriate specialist if:

  • previous treatments have not helped your urinary problems
  • a urinary infection does not go away or comes back regularly
  • you cannot fully empty your bladder 
  • you have kidney problems
  • you have stress incontinence: when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure; for example, when you cough or laugh

You should also see a specialist if your GP is concerned that your symptoms could be caused by cancer, although for most men cancer is not the cause.

To help find out what might be causing your symptoms and decide how best to manage them, you should be offered additional tests to measure:

  • how fast your urine flows
  • how much urine is left in the bladder after you have peed

You may also be offered other tests, depending on your symptoms or the treatment you and your doctor are considering.


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