For most men, these nightly bathroom runs may be the first sign of an enlarged prostate. Other symptoms may include trouble starting a stream of urine, leaking, or dribbling. And, like gray hair, an enlarged prostate is a natural by-product of getting older, doctors say. Trouble is, the nightly bathroom runs become more frequent — eventually edging their way into the daytime routine.
“They can’t sit through a meeting or a plane flight without getting up,” says Kevin Slawin, MD, a professor of urology at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston. “It’s very annoying … and when they have to go, they really have to go.”
Enlarged Prostate Symptoms and Causes
In men, urine flows from the bladder through the urethra. BPH is a benign (noncancerous) enlargement of the prostate that blocks the flow of urine through the urethra. The prostate cells gradually multiply, creating an enlargement that puts pressure on the urethra — the “chute” through which urine and semen exit the body.
As the urethra narrows, the bladder has to contract more forcefully to push urine through the body.
Over time, the bladder muscle may gradually become stronger, thicker, and overly sensitive; it begins to contract even when it contains small amounts of urine, causing a need to urinate frequently. Eventually, the bladder muscle cannot overcome the effect of the narrowed urethra so urine remains in the bladder and it is not completely emptied.