Exams and Tests
Your doctor will first want to make
sure that your urination problem is caused by
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and not by
something else. This can usually be determined from your
medical history, a physical exam that focuses on the
urinary tract, a urinalysis, and a blood test. A neurological exam should also
be done to determine whether your symptoms are related to a problem with the
nerves to the bladder. A questionnaire such as the
American Urological Association (AUA) symptom index
may be used to evaluate how bothersome your symptoms are. It is not used to
Tests that are often done
Tests that are used as needed
If your symptoms are
moderate to severe, additional tests, called urodynamic studies, may be
- Post-void residual urine test (PVR)
measures the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. This test is
ultrasound or a small tube (catheter) put into the
bladder through the
- Pressure flow studies measure
pressure in the bladder while urinating. They may help distinguish between
urinary symptoms caused by obstruction, such as BPH, and those caused by a
problem affecting the bladder muscles or nerves.
- Cystometrogram measures the bladder's pressure,
compliance, and capacity during urinary storage. This may include a
uroflowmetry test, which measures how fast the urine
flows out of the bladder.
Tests that may be done
The following tests may be
done if you have
complications of BPH or if there is a need to look for
other causes of the symptoms.
uses sound waves to check the size and structure of the kidneys, bladder, and
prostate. A small device called a transducer is inserted into the rectum
(transrectal ultrasound) to evaluate the prostate.
- Cystoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the
bladder. This may allow the doctor to see the extent
of blockage of the urethra caused by an enlarged prostate and estimate its
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) uses X-rays
to show the function of the kidneys and the flow of urine from the kidneys to
- Spiral (helical)
computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make
detailed pictures of structures inside the body. These scanners can check for
prostate gland , blockage, and urine flow from the kidneys.
There is no routine screening test for prostate
enlargement. But it may be detected during other screening tests that are
regularly done to check for prostate or rectal cancer, such as the digital
rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
- Many doctors recommend yearly digital rectal
PSA tests for all men over age 50 to check for
prostate cancer. But some doctors don't recommend this type of regular
screening, saying there is no proof that such routine testing results in more
successful treatment of prostate cancer.
- The best screening method
and schedule for you may depend on other risk factors you have. Talk with your
doctor about this.