benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)

Q | how is BPH diagnosed?

A | Patients usually see their GP's complaining of some or all of the following symptoms: urgency, frequency of urination, nocturia, hesitant or weak stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination and a feeling of incomplete emptying. Your doctor will go through your history and as part of his examination, perform a rectal examination (DRE).

Examination of the prostate demonstrates whether it is enlarged or not. Your doctor may request a blood test to check your PSA. This can be used as a possible indicator for prostate cancer in some circumstances.

If a diagnosis of BPH is made, the GP will then refer you to a urologist. Your urologist will confirm your symptoms history and repeat the prostate examination to confirm your GP's findings. Your urologist then may order the following tests:

  • Urine flow rate: this will involve you passing urine into a machine that can measure how strong your urine flow is.
  • A urine test: this is to check for blood in the urine, infection and also the presence of glucose that may indicate a problem with your sugar control.
  • An ultrasound scan: this is to look at your kidneys and also check if you are retaining urine after you have passed urine. Incomplete emptying of the bladder may confirm the findings of bladder outflow obstruction.
  • Flexible cystoscopy: this test uses a small telescope to examine the urethra, prostate and bladder to ensure that there are no other causes for your symptoms.