Frequent Urination and Prostate Cancer: Is There a Connection?

5 min read


Frequent Urination and Prostate Cancer: Is There a Connection?

Urination is a natural bodily function. However, if you feel the need to urinate repeatedly, this could mean there is a more serious problem. There is no “normal” frequency for urination because it varies from person to person. But you’re likely familiar with what’s normal for you. Excessive urination can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as a prostate-related issue.

While some conditions, such as an enlarged prostate, are not life-threatening, others could be more serious, such as prostate cancer. That’s why letting your primary care physician know of any concerns is important. If it is cancer, an early diagnosis leads to a more effective treatment.

Understanding Frequent Urination 

Frequent urination is not always a sign of a medical issue. On average, most men urinate around seven to eight times a day, including up to two times during the night. However, if you find yourself using the restroom every 30 minutes to an hour, you could be experiencing frequent urination. Before you worry, consider how much fluid you drink. If it’s consistent throughout the day, you’ll likely use the restroom more often. Also, medication to reduce the amount of fluid in your body will cause you to urinate more often. Take note of these things so you can talk about them with your doctor if you’re concerned.

One way many people notice more frequent urination is by waking up more often at night to use the restroom. As you age, the number of times you need to urinate at night may increase. Men in their forties and fifties may only urinate once per night, if at all. Men in their sixties and seventies may need to urinate twice a night, with that potentially becoming even more frequent as you age beyond your seventies. Keep in mind that these numbers are averages, and urinating more or less than average may be typical for you. 

If you suddenly notice that you are taking more bathroom breaks during the day without changing your habits or your sleep is disrupted due to waking up to urinate, then your frequent urination may have an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. 

Prostate Cancer Symptoms to Look For

Men with prostate cancer may not always experience symptoms. However, the symptoms that do appear are usually related to the urinary system. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following: 

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Painful or burning sensation while urinating
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination
  • A weak or interrupted flow of urination
  • Feeling that your bladder is not empty, even after urinating

While these symptoms are not always related to prostate cancer, they also should not be ignored. 

Some patients with prostate cancer may also experience pain around the prostate while sitting, new pain or swelling in the lower body (particularly in the back or hips), or abnormal bowel habits. Pain or burning during ejaculation is also a sign of prostate cancer for some men. 

The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, especially after age 65. If your father or brother has a history of prostate cancer, you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition. If you are concerned about your risk, discuss screening options with your physician and possibly start screening earlier than age 50. 

Finding the Cause of Frequent Urination

If you are experiencing persistent symptoms of frequent urination, you should request an appointment with your primary care doctor or urologist. It's important to remember that frequent urination can have various causes, including medication side effects, diabetes, an enlarged prostate, and urinary tract infections, which can be in the bladder or kidneys. Frequent urination does not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. 

To help your physician determine the cause of your frequent urination, take note of the following:

  • How long you have been experiencing symptoms
  • Prescription medication history, including current, new, or previous medications
  • The amount and type of fluids you drink, including alcohol and caffeinated beverages
  • Changes to your fluid intake
  • Times of day or night you experience frequent urination
  • Swelling in your legs
  • New or abnormal snoring

The more information you can provide your doctor, the easier it will be to make an accurate diagnosis and take the next steps.

To determine whether your frequent urination is a symptom of prostate cancer, your healthcare provider may perform a digital rectal exam along with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The results of these tests, especially compared to past PSA test results, will determine whether additional testing, such as a prostate MRI, is needed.

I Have Prostate Cancer: Now What? 

If cancer is suspected based on other tests, your urologist may perform a biopsy. The results are reviewed by a pathologist who examines the prostate tissue samples under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. If it is, the pathology report will also indicate how much cancer is present and whether it’s likely to grow slowly or rapidly. For most men who have prostate cancer, it’s a slow-growing condition that doesn’t always require treatment right away. Watchful waiting is a normal first step, especially if it’s early-stage prostate cancer.

A personalized treatment plan will be created for you taking into account your age, stage of cancer, and lifestyle to suggest the most suitable treatment options. Thankfully, there are various prostate cancer treatments available, such as radiation therapy and hormone therapy, that make it possible for many men to avoid surgery. And if prostate cancer has returned after being treated previously, there are new, leading-edge treatment options now available.

Prostate Cancer Treatment in Colorado

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the specialists at RMCC will work with you to create the optimal treatment plan. You can access our prostate cancer specialists at locations throughout the Front Range of Colorado, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver. Know that we are here for you every step of the way. 

Request an appointment at one of our convenient locations for a consultation. We also offer second opinions, so you can be completely confident in your prostate cancer diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.   

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