When Should I Be Worried About an Enlarged Prostate

Sep 01, 2023
When Should I Be Worried About an Enlarged Prostate
Prostate checks are an integral part of men’s health and can detect issues early. Here’s when you should be concerned about prostate enlargement and what it might mean.  

Your prostate falls within the category of reproductive health, as the gland plays a unique role in fertilization. The prostate is a tiny rubbery gland located between your rectum and the base of your penis. Conditions of the prostate are exclusive to men, as are prostate checks. 

Your local primary care physician, Kelly DiStefano, MD, provides routine prostate exams as part of your men’s health membership at Montclair Concierge Medicine in Verona, New Jersey. 

Though the subject may seem sensitive or embarrassing, talking to our team about prostate health is critical as you age. Suppose you're at average risk for prostate cancer. In that case, the American Cancer Society recommends talking to your doctor about prostate screenings at age 50. If your risk is high, talk to Dr. DiStefano about them at 40. 

Report symptoms immediately

Prostate screenings detect changes in the prostate before you experience any symptoms. Though screening can detect prostate enlargement, you should also learn the signs and inform Dr. DiStefano if you have them. Watch out for:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Dribbling after you urinate
  • Urinary incontinence (difficulty holding in your urine)
  • Frequent urination at night
  • A weak urine stream

Your probability of experiencing prostate enlargement increases as you age. In fact, many men over 40 have a small amount of prostate enlargement. This is called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). 

Should you worry about BPH?

BPH is complication-free for many men. Though its symptoms can be bothersome, it isn’t cancer and is simply part of aging most of the time. However, BPH can lead to severe complications, and Dr. DiStefano may request that you visit regularly to monitor the condition. Treatment may not be necessary but can reduce symptoms if you have them. 

Untreated cases of BPH can lead to bladder damage, kidney damage, or painful infections. You should seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these warning signs:

  • Blood in your urine
  • The inability to urinate
  • Painful urination
  • Fever and chills alongside your urinary symptoms
  • Pain in your lower abdomen

Beyond the infections and organ damage that BPH can cause, prostate enlargement can sometimes be a sign of prostate cancer. If Dr. DiStefano detects prostate enlargement during your screening, she may recommend further testing. You might require another prostate cancer screening, a prostate biopsy, or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood testing. 

About prostate cancer

Although just one in 456 men under 50 are diagnosed with prostate cancer, one in 54 between ages 50 and 59 receives a diagnosis. Your likelihood increases with every decade after. That is why discussing screenings with our team at the recommended age is essential. 

Fortunately, more than 80% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in early and treatable stages. Dr. DiStefano supports you throughout screening, diagnostic testing, and treatment. She can coordinate your care with other specialists and ensure you receive the most advanced evidence-based treatments available. 

As a member of Montclair Concierge Medicine, you can schedule a visit at any time to discuss prostate enlargement, screenings, and related topics. Call Montclair Concierge Medicine or book your next appointment online today.