Recognising Your Partner’s Problem
What are the symptoms of BPH?
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are a sign of BPH. Get to know what these might be so that you can spot any of them in your partner. If you think he's suffering, encourage him to fill in the Symptoms-check Questionnaire which was developed using the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), or maybe you could even do this for him. He could assess whether his symptoms are affecting his life by signing up to the Patient Support Program where he can track his symptoms using the P Diary widget. If you have any concerns or think your partner might have BPH, persuade him to speak to a healthcare professional.
Can the symptoms of BPH be caused by anything else?
If your partner is suffering from urinary symptoms he needs to talk to a healthcare professional, who will be able to determine if they are due to BPH and not another condition.
Other conditions or treatments can cause similar symptoms to BPH.9
- A urinary tract infection or some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can make your partner need to pee more often or feel pain when he pees. If he has an STI, there may also be some discharge from the penis. It's important that you get checked out too if an STI is a possibility. Common STIs include gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Other non-sexually transmitted infections can also cause urinary symptoms. Infections can be treated with antibiotics.
- Certain medicines, including some antidepressants, antihistamines (e.g. for hay fever) and decongestants, can cause urine retention, where he can't pee. Encourage him to talk to a healthcare professional about the side-effects of any medicines he's taking. Also, read the leaflet that comes with the medicine and get him to do the same.
- The urethra can become narrowed even without obstruction by the prostate, leading to a weak urine flow and dribbling.
- Diabetes can make him need to pee more often, because the body needs to get rid of excess sugar.
- Advanced prostate cancer can often cause similar symptoms to BPH. Although early prostate cancer generally has no symptoms9 , early diagnosis will help to ensure he has a much better chance of successful treatment.
- Bladder or bowel cancer may cause lumps in the abdomen that may press on the urethra and lead to obstructive symptoms (weak flow, dribbling etc).
- Penis problems, such as phimosis, where the foreskin is tight and can't be pulled back from the glans of the penis, can cause problems when your partner pees. There may be a poor stream of urine that sprays in different directions.
- Heart failure can make him need to pee at night.
- Problems with the nerve supply to the bladder can lead to incontinence, where he can’t get to the loo in time or he has problems emptying the bladder fully.