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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Benign enlargement of the prostate

Benign enlargement of the prostate / Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Prostate disease is common in middle-aged and elderly men.

The prostate gland lies just below the bladder and wraps around the urethra ('water pipe') as it exits the bladder, a bit like a doughnut with a hole in the middle. It is necessary for having children, since it makes some important constituents of the semen fluid.

Benign (non-cancerous) enlargement of the prostate is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Usually, men will seek advice from their GP if they develop urinary bladder symptoms, such as a weak flow or needing to get up a few times at night to pass urine. These are symptoms that could be caused by BPH or prostate cancer. The only part of the prostate gland, which is available for a doctor to examine with a gloved finger, is its back surface, which is located in front of the back passage (rectum). Such an examination is uncomfortable but shouldn't be painful; it is known as a digital rectal examination (DRE).

Most men with urinary bladder symptoms will be looked after by their GP, who may prescribe tablets to treat the symptoms. If tablets do not provide satisfactory relief of the symptoms, or if the GP is concerned about the possibility of PC, a referral to see a urologist is made for assessment and further tests and possible surgical treatment.

We may offer the following types of surgery for BPH.

  • Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
  • Open Millen's retropubic prostatectomy
  • Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP)

Patient information