Most cases of an enlarged prostate and associated Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms are due to BPH or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. However, in order to rule out the possibility of prostatitis or prostate cancer, patients should speak to a urologist to get a proper diagnosis. In order to diagnose BPH, a urologist has the following tools at their disposal:
Using demographic information (BPH is more common as a man ages), as well as an interview with the patient, a urologist can quickly narrow the cause of the symptoms affecting a patient. This is the time to offer as much context as you can about the symptoms you have been experiencing, how long you’ve been experiencing them, and how severe they are. This is the first step toward an accurate diagnosis. You can assist your physician in their diagnosis by filling out the AUA Prostate Symptom Score test and bringing them your results.
Initial diagnostic testing may include a urinalysis which will determine whether an infection is causing the bothersome symptoms. A digital rectal Exam or DRE will be performed to check the size of the prostate. A urinary cytology, which screens for bladder cancer, may also be performed. Any of these tests may be performed by your urologist if they believe them to be necessary.
If the results of the basic tests are inconclusive, your urologist may order additional diagnostic tests to confirm the cause of your urinary symptoms. The most common of these is a blood test to measure the PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen. Learn more about the Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA. A uroflowmetry test could be performed to get an accurate measurement of current urine flow versus normal flow levels. A cystoscopy may also be performed. During this procedure, a small scope is inserted into the urethra and allows the urologist to view the prostatic urethra and bladder.
Some, or all, of the testing above may be performed based on the information that your urologist gathers. Be sure to speak to your urologist for more information on their findings. Remember that BPH is a common condition, however many of the symptoms of BPH can also be shared with other, more insidious diseases such as prostate and bladder cancers. Be sure to visit your urologist when you have any symptoms of BPH to ensure a proper diagnosis and a suitable course of treatment.