Older men are more likely to experience problems relating to their prostate gland. It enlarges, slowly putting pressure on the outflow tube resulting in a slower stream and often a need to pass urine more frequently, including during the night. This condition is known as benign prostatic hypertrophy. More rarely, men develop cancer of the prostate which causes similar symptoms.
If you have these symptoms your doctor will want to examine your prostate which means inserting a gloved finger up the rectum. This allows the doctor to check the size of the gland and also for any evidence of cancer. He may perform a blood test and a urine test to confirm diagnosis and to rule out other infections.
If your doctor finds there is a severe obstruction or he suspects cancer he will refer you to a specialist kidney and bladder surgeon (urologist). If the obstruction is of a lesser degree he will probably prescribe some tablets which will either help the muscle wall of the outflow tube to open more, or slowly shrink the size of the prostate gland.
Should you require surgery, it is normally done via the penis and does not involve external scarring. It takes out the protruding centre of the gland thus leaving a larger passage. Occasionally, a more major operation is required which does involve a scar above the pubic bone.
You should visit your doctor if you experience any changes in your urinary frequency and the speed of outflow.