Complications of enlarged prostate can include:

  • Sudden inability to urinate (urinary retention). You might need to have a tube (catheter) inserted into your bladder to drain the urine. Some men with an enlarged prostate need surgery to relieve urinary retention.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs). Inability to fully empty the bladder can increase the risk of infection in your urinary tract. If UTIs occur frequently, you might need surgery to remove part of the prostate.
  • Bladder stones. These are generally caused by an inability to completely empty the bladder. Bladder stones can cause infection, bladder irritation, blood in the urine and obstruction of urine flow.
  • Bladder damage. A bladder that hasn't emptied completely can stretch and weaken over time. As a result, the muscular wall of the bladder no longer contracts properly, making it harder to fully empty your bladder.
  • Kidney damage. Pressure in the bladder from urinary retention can directly damage the kidneys or allow bladder infections to reach the kidneys.

Most men with an enlarged prostate don't develop these complications. However, acute urinary retention and kidney damage can be serious health threats.

Having an enlarged prostate doesn't affect your risk of developing prostate cancer.

Nov. 13, 2014

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