What does a frequent or urgent need to urinate mean?

What does a frequent or urgent need to urinate mean?

A weak or intermittent urine stream is a top warning sign of benign prostate enlargement (BPE) This is a common condition which may arise as men get older. If you feel you could be at risk, understand your symptoms by taking this short test.
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How to recognize an enlarged prostate

A healthy prostate has the shape and size of a walnut. For just about all men, benign prostate enlargement (BPE) is a natural consequence of getting older. That’s because your prostate doubles in size in your teens, then continues to grow for the rest of your life.1

Wat is BPE

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Eventually, an enlarged prostate can squeeze down on the small tube that transports urine from the bladder out of your penis and restricts the flow of urine.

An enlarged prostate is a common cause of male lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), which can interfere with your regular urinary processes such as storage and voiding. If left untreated, it can lead to bladder or kidney problems.

What causes BPE?

What causes BPE?

While the exact causes for BPE are still unclear, it is a very common condition. 90% of men aged 50 to 80 years old suffer from potentially troublesome lower urinary tract symptoms.2 Between 3 and 4 million men in the UK alone, and 24 million men in Europe, are affected by urinary tract issues.3

BPE affects 90% of men by the age of 85.4

While causes are unclear, there are certain risk factors that have been shown to increase the chances of developing BPE. Your age, a family history of prostate problems, obesity, and chronic diseases – such as diabetes and heart disease – can all increase the risk of an enlarged prostate. Ignoring these factors and related symptoms can lead to serious complications.




Have you experienced any of these common symptoms of BPE?

  • Waking up several times a night to urinate
  • Weak, interrupted urine stream
  • Hard time starting and stopping
  • Feeling a sudden urge to urinate
  • Not sure your bladder is empty
  • Dribbling at the end of your stream
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Inability to go when you feel the need
  • Lack of control over urination

Take our test to gain insight into the severity of your symptoms and help you kick-start the conversation about BPE with your physician.

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You think you could suffer from BPE? It is important to be diagnosed as soon as possible, as it can interfere with your daily life and can lead to serious medical conditions. If you notice symptoms related to BPE, it is important to check them with a urologist.

Use the physician locator and find a urologist specialized in diagnosing and treating male urinary conditions. Your doctor can also refer you to a urologist.

Your physician will ask you about your symptoms and will do a physical examination. It can include:5

  • A urinary frequency-volume chart. This will give a record of how much water you normally drink, how much urine you pass, and how often you empty your bladder on a daily basis, as well as any leakage you have.6
  • Digital rectal exam. The urologist inserts a finger into the rectum to check if your prostate has enlarged.
  • Urine test. Analyzing a sample of your urine can help rule out an infection or other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
  • Blood test. The results can indicate kidney problems.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA is a substance produced in your prostate. PSA levels increase when you have an enlarged prostate. However, elevated PSA levels may also be due to recent procedures, infection, surgery or prostate cancer.

After that, your physician might recommend additional tests to help confirm an enlarged prostate and to rule out other conditions.


Risks of leaving your BPE untreated

Risks of leaving your BPE untreated

Left untreated, BPE can lead to bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems. What are the risks for your health?

There are a number of medical conditions associated with the inability to fully empty your bladder:

  • Sudden urinary blockage
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Inflammation of the prostate
  • Bladder stones and damage
  • Kidney stones and damage

You can lower your risk of developing them by taking control of your BPE at the earliest stage.

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BPE can affect your quality of life

As the severity of symptoms increases, BPE can interfere with your day-to-day life. It can disrupt your sleep, making you tired and cranky. It can hurt or affect the quality of your work, damage your confidence and self-esteem, and put a damper on your sex drive. Potential consequences include:

  • The need to restrict/limit fluid intake
  • Exhaustion from lack of sleep
  • Anxiety and embarrassment
  • Challenges with sex life
  • Limiting activities like travel and sports
Discover how other patients have overcome BPE


  1. Jarvis TR, Chughtai B, Kaplan SA. Testosterone and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Asian J Androl. 2015;17(2):212-6.
  2. Jones C, Hill J, Chapple C, Guideline Development G. Management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men: summary of NICE guidance. BMJ. 2010;340:c2354. Abstract
  3. Rees J, Bultitude M, Challacombe B. The management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men. BMJ. 2014;348:g3861. Abstract
  4. Barry M, Roehrborn C. Management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Ann Rev Med. 1997 Feb;48:77-189.
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370093
  6. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-enlargement/diagnosis/

The content of this website is for information purposes only and not meant for product promotion or medical diagnostic. This information does not constitute medical or legal advice, and Boston Scientific makes no representation or warranty regarding this information or its completeness, accuracy or timeliness. Accordingly, Boston Scientific strongly recommends that you consult with your physician on all matters pertaining to your health or to address any questions.