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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Care Instructions

Picture of male anatomy, including the prostate gland

Your Care Instructions

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is an enlarged prostate gland. The prostate is a small gland that makes some of the fluid in semen. Prostate enlargement happens to almost all men as they age. It is usually not serious. BPH does not cause prostate cancer.

As the prostate gets bigger, it may partly block the flow of urine. You may have a hard time getting a urine stream started or completely stopped. BPH can cause dribbling. You may have a weak urine stream, or you may have to urinate more often than you used to, especially at night. Most men find these problems easy to manage.

You do not need treatment unless your symptoms bother you a lot or you have other problems, such as bladder infections or stones. In these cases, medicines may help. Surgery is not needed unless the urine flow is blocked or the symptoms do not get better with medicine.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take plenty of time to urinate. Try to relax.
  • Try "double voiding." Urinate as much you can, relax for a few moments, and then try to urinate again.
  • Sit on the toilet to urinate.
  • Read or think of other things while you are waiting.
  • Turn on a faucet, or try to picture running water. Some men find that this helps get their urine flowing.
  • If dribbling is a problem, wash your penis daily to avoid skin irritation and infection.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These drinks will increase how often you need to urinate. Spread your fluid intake throughout the day. If the urge to urinate often wakes you at night, limit your fluid intake in the evening. Urinate right before you go to bed.
  • Many over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines can make the symptoms of BPH worse. Avoid antihistamines, decongestants, and allergy pills, if you can. Read the warnings on the package.
  • If you take any prescription medicines, especially tranquilizers or antidepressants, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether they can cause urination problems. There may be other medicines you can use that do not cause urinary problems.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You cannot urinate at all.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary infection. For example:
    • You have blood or pus in your urine.
    • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
    • You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
    • It hurts to urinate.
    • You have groin or belly pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • It hurts when you ejaculate.
  • Your urinary problems get a lot worse or bother you a lot.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.