Prostate problems

The three most common prostate problems are:

For some men, problems urinating could be a sign that they have a prostate problem, usually an enlarged prostate. Or it might be an infection or inflammation of the prostate, called prostatitis. Early prostate cancer doesn't usually cause problems urinating.

Problems with urinating could also be caused by another health problem, such as diabetes, or by any medicines you are taking, such as anti-depressants.

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Symptoms to look out for

Symptoms include:

  • needing to go for a pee more often, especially at night - for example if you often need to go again two hours after urinating
  • difficulty starting to urinate
  • straining or taking a long time to finish urinating
  • a weak flow when you urinate
  • a feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly
  • needing to rush to the toilet - you may occasionally leak before you get there
  • dribbling urine.

Less common symptoms include:

  • pain when urinating
  • pain when ejaculating
  • problems getting or keeping an erection*
  • blood in your urine or semen.**

* Erection problems are not common symptoms of a prostate problem and are more often caused by other health conditions.

** Blood in your urine can also be caused by other health problems, including other cancers. You should always go to your doctor if you notice any blood in your urine.

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Problems peeing: what is normal?

Your bladder should be able to hold up to three-quarters of a pint (about 430ml). Most people go for a pee about four to seven times each day, depending on how much they drink.

You should know when your bladder is full and have enough time to find a toilet and empty it completely every time you urinate. If your bladder is working normally, you shouldn't leak urine.

Most people can sleep six to eight hours without having to go for a pee. This will depend on how recently you had a drink before going to sleep. And as we get older, the amount of urine we produce overnight increases. Middle aged and older men often wake to urinate once in the early morning hours.

Your lifestyle may also cause urinary symptoms. For example, if you often drink large amounts of fluid or drink a lot of alcohol, caffeine or fizzy drinks, which can irritate the bladder.

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What should I do next?

If you are having problems urinating, it's a good idea to get things checked out, even if it is just to put your mind at rest.

Problems urinating are common in older men but this doesn't mean you have to put up with them. There are treatments for urinary symptoms and prostate problems and you might be able to manage it yourself. If you have any of the symptoms above you should think about visiting your GP. You can also talk to one of our Specialist Nurses.

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