Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Symptoms will appear gradually over time. Prostate that has grown enough to create problems with urine flow may cause:

  • Incomplete emptying—a feeling that the bladder is not empty after urinating
  • Frequency—needing to urinate again less than 2 hours after urinating
  • Urgency—urge to urinate is very strong and hard to postpone
  • Nocturia—having to wake and get up out of bed to urinate

Note: Nighttime urination can also be a sign of other medical conditions. See your doctor if it persists.

The Prostate and Surrounding Structures

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Other common symptoms include:

  • Intermittency—urine flow stops and starts during urination
  • Hesitancy—having the urge to urinate, but need to wait until the flow actually starts
  • Weak stream—urine that trickles out rather than flows strongly
  • Straining—having to push or strain in order to urinate
  • Incontinence—leakage of urine, unable to stop flow of urine when needed
  • Hard time starting to urinate
  • Dribbling at end of urination
  • Deep discomfort in the lower belly

Backed-up urine may increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). BPH may increase the risk of frequent or chronic infections.

Elderly men with dementia may be at risk for a sudden complete blockage of urine flow. It can cause the bladder to stretch and cause lower abdomen to swell. This is the sign of an emergency.



American Urological Association (AUA) Practice Guidelines Committee. AUA guideline on management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Available at:
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Accessed September 21, 2020.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Accessed September 21, 2020.
Pearson R, Williams PM. Common questions about the diagnosis and management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(11):769-774.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 11/4/2020

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