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Complications of Enlarged Prostate

Topic Overview

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) rarely has complications. When it does, they are often due to severe obstruction of the urine flow. These complications include:

  • Complete blockage of the urethra (acute urinary retention, or AUR). This results in a complete inability to urinate. It can cause kidney damage, which may be reversed if the problem is diagnosed and treated before the damage becomes too severe. It may also result in waste products building up in the blood. A tube called a catheter may be needed to drain urine from the bladder.
  • Long-term, partial blockage of urine flow from the bladder (chronic urinary retention, or CUR). This causes urine to remain in the bladder after urination (post-void residual urine). In rare cases, this may lead to kidney damage, which may be reversed if the problem is diagnosed and treated before the damage becomes too severe. It may also result in waste products building up in the blood.
  • A urinary tract infection (UTI). But repeated urinary tract infections can also be caused by long-term inflammation or infection in the prostate (chronic prostatitis).

Other complications of BPH may include bladder stones or bladder infections and visible blood in the urine (gross hematuria).

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer J. Curtis Nickel, MD, FRCSC - Urology
Last Revised March 5, 2012

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