The most common prostate problems are:

If you notice any changes when you urinate or have trouble controlling your bladder (urinary problems) – this could be a sign of a problem in your prostate.

Urinary problems are common in older men and are not always a sign of a prostate problem. They can be caused by a urine infection or another health problem, such as diabetes, or by some medicines.

Your lifestyle can also trigger changes in the way you urinate – for example, drinking too much will make you urinate more often, while alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks can irritate the bladder.

Changes to look out for

Changes to look out for include:

  • needing to urinate more often than usual, including at night – for example if you often need to go again two hours later
  • difficulty starting to urinate
  • straining or taking a long time to finish urinating
  • a weak flow when you urinate
  • a feeling that you’re not emptying your bladder fully
  • needing to rush to the toilet – sometimes leaking before you get there
  • dribbling urine after you finish.

Less common symptoms include:

  • pain when urinating
  • pain when ejaculating
  • blood in your urine or semen*
  • problems getting or keeping an erection – this isn’t a common symptom of a prostate problem and is more often linked to other health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems.

*Blood in your urine or semen can be caused by other health problems. Talk to your doctor if you see any blood in your urine or semen.

Urinating: what is normal?

As with many things in life, everyone is different. Most people urinate four to seven times each day, depending on how much they drink. And your bladder should be able to hold up to three-quarters of a pint (about 430ml).

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 urinate. This will be affected by how recently you had a drink before going to sleep. As we get older, you will probably need to urinate more often. You may wake up to urinate once in the early morning – this is common in older men.

What should I do next?

If you notice any of the changes we’ve talked about here or you’re worried about your risk of prostate cancer, visit your GP.

You can also call our Specialist Nurses, in confidence, on 0800 074 8383.

Urinary problems will often be caused by something else rather than cancer and there are treatments that can help.

What if I am not registered with a GP?

If you’re not registered with a GP you can find one near you on the following websites:

You can also ask family or friends who live near you which GP surgery they go to.