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Enlarged Prostate

Enlarged prostate, called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), affects many men as they age, but it is usually treatable, allowing a quick return to normal activities. BPH is the most common cause of urinary problems for men over 40. This condition is not cancerous, and it does not increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.

The prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut located just below the bladder and surrounding the urethra (the tube that allows urine to pass out of the body). The prostate produces about half of the seminal fluid that comes out of the penis during ejaculation.

As you age, your prostate continues to grow. In particular, tiny periurethral glands within the prostate next to the urethra swell. However, the outer layer of the prostate does not stretch enough to accommodate growth inside. This causes the inner prostate to squeeze the urethra.

When the urethra is narrowed, the bladder has to work harder to expel urine, and urination becomes difficult. Eventually, the bladder cannot empty completely, and there is not enough space in the bladder for new urine coming from the kidneys. This causes you to urinate more often.

A physical exam may reveal an enlarged prostate, but does not always distinguish between BPH and cancer. A blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA—a chemical present in the blood when the prostate is enlarged) is used to detect both BPH and prostate cancer.

If your PSA is elevated, which may be an indication of cancer, you may need a biopsy to make an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes more than one biopsy is necessary to conclude definitively that the problem is BPH and not cancer.

An enlarged prostate may disrupt your daily life. Fortunately, this condition can often be treated successfully. Indiana University Health is home to some of the country’s leading urologists and experts in advanced treatment of BPH. We are among the first to adopt effective new treatments.

Through our partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine, our physicians perform leading-edge research to make treatment of BPH more efficient and effective. Our focus is a new tool used in laser treatment of enlarged prostate. This tool may speed removal of enlarged prostate tissue, shortening surgery and reducing risk.

We were the first in the U.S. to use holmium laser therapy to remove BPH tissue from the prostate. Our publications in medical journals share our innovative techniques with physicians worldwide.

At IU Health, we provide comprehensive, patient and family-centered care for every patient. Our specialists work with you to ensure that your needs and preferences help shape your treatment plan.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Enlarged Prostate Treatment Information

We use a range of diagnostic methods to diagnose this condition and determine its extent. These include:

We often begin treatment conservatively to minimize impact on the patient. Our treatments include:


Enlarged Prostate Locations & Physicians

Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area. 

Find a Specialist

Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.


Enlarged Prostate Support Services

Learning about your condition may help you make decisions and work more effectively with your physician. Visit the websites below to find out more about BPH.