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‘Is getting up to pee at night an indication I might have prostate cancer?’

‘Is getting up to pee at night an indication I might have prostate cancer?’

Tyler, 57, is having trouble peeing properly and is concerned this could indicate a prostate problem. Sometimes he gets up once at night to go to the bathroom, but sometimes it’s every 15 minutes. Is this normal or could he have a serious issue?

My advice:

Tyler, you’re right to be concerned — though let me say right up front that your urination issues are more likely due to non-cancerous problems with your prostate. Here’s the thing: If you’re having problems peeing, you’ve probably got a problem with either your bladder, or your prostate. The bladder stores urine, and the tube that drains the urine from the bladder goes right through the prostate. So these organs work together when you pee.

Getting up once to pee at night is normal, but if it’s two or more times, the condition is called nocturia and it can be a sign of problems. The first thing to check is whether you’re drinking a lot of liquid—especially alcohol—in the evening. Alcohol is a diuretic—it makes you pee more, and not just because of the liquid the alcohol comes in.  So, first, try not drinking any alcohol and going easy on other liquids before going to bed.

If you still have a problem, then you may have an enlarged prostate. This is pretty normal for a guy your age.  It’s not cancer, but it does squeeze the urethra, which can make it harder to fully empty your bladder.  If your urine comes out in a dribble or a spray, your bladder may be over-distended.

I’m glad you called because these kinds of issues are more serious than guys may think. You need to be careful or it’s possible at some point, you’ll find yourself in the hospital with a catheter. Now, here’s what should do. First, go to a urologist and get a prostate exam and PSA test. For a lot of men, we can decrease the size of the prostate with a medication called Finasteride. This medicine decreases DHT. DHT is the chemical that causes hair loss and causes the prostate to grow. So, taking this medicine will shrink your prostate, and as a nice side benefit, help you to grow better hair. You’re only 57 now, but if you wait too long, you might need surgery by the time you’re 67. So deal with this now, and not only will it be easier for you to go to the bathroom, but you’ll significantly reduce your chances of getting prostate cancer as well.

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