Enlarged Prostate and Bowel Movement- What’s the Untold Connection?

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), often known as an enlarged prostate, is a condition that sadly affects men all over the world and has a significant impact on their daily lives. It becomes more difficult and leads to a typical emotional experience when symptoms worsen and treatment is not received. In this post, we discuss the potential link between enlarged prostate and bowel movements. Read on to learn more. 

Understanding Enlarged Prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is defined as the noncancerous growth of prostate tissue. The condition causes a wide range of lower urinary tract symptoms in men. 

The most common BPH symptoms include urinary frequency, difficulty starting urination, urinary urgency, nocturia (frequent urination at night), weak urine stream, urinary incontinence, and inability to empty the bladder, just to name a few.

Common Symptoms

Factors that play a role in the development of an enlarged prostate include hormonal imbalance, aging, family history, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, and heart disease.

When not treated properly, prostate enlargement can lead to kidney damage, bladder damage, bladder stones, urinary tract infection (UTI), and urinary retention

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The Connection  Between Enlarged Prostate And Bowel Movements

The biggest problem with an enlarged prostate is that it causes a chain of reactions beyond urinary symptoms. In some cases, BPH is not the only prostate problem that men have to deal with. 

So, will an enlarged prostate cause bowel problem? Sometimes enlarged prostate can lead to prostatitis, i.e., inflammation of the prostate gland. In one study, 57.2% out of 5053 men with prostatitis reported a history of enlarged prostate. Additionally, 38.7% of 7465 men with BPH reported a history of prostatitis.

Enlarged Prostate And Prostatitis

Chronic prostatitis can also cause a set of symptoms and painful defecation (bowel movements) is one of them. Some men with prostatitis also have irritable bowel syndrome. While prostate size itself is not the common factor for problems with bowel movements, in some cases, it can happen. 

Besides chronic or acute prostatitis, other BPH-related complications can also affect bowel movements. One of those complications is chronic urinary retention. Although rare, this complication can lead to large bowel obstruction. 

Impact On Bowel Movement

A common symptom of an enlarged prostate is the inability to empty the bladder. When left untreated, this symptom leads to urinary retention. 

In turn, urinary retention may lead to compression of the sigmoid colon (last section of the bowel) against the sacrum (transitory structure between the vertebral column and pelvis). As a result, large bowel obstruction may occur. Considered a medical emergency, large bowel obstruction is a blockage that prevents the passing of food and liquid. 

Certain complications of BPH may impair bowel movements and lead to a medical emergency. Besides the abovementioned complications, it’s also useful to mention that prostate enlargement can contribute to constipation. An enlarged prostate can form too much pressure on the rectum, making it difficult to defecate.

In addition to BPH, other prostate problems can act on the bowels too. A good example is prostate cancer or tumor, which may cause disruptions such as bowel incontinence or fecal incontinence.  Prostate issues, in some cases, can lead to a prolapsed rectum, which is known for various bowel movement problems.

The Influence Of Constipation On The Prostate

Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems. We all experience it at one point or another. The influence of constipation goes beyond feeling bloated, and it may extend to your prostate gland. 

To describe how constipation harms the prostate, it’s important to mention your bowel is located right next to the prostate gland. Bowels carry waste and toxins, which start building up without regular bowel movements, i.e., in the presence of constipation. 

Sometimes, excessive levels of these toxins can migrate to nearby tissues, including the prostate tissue. When that happens, the prostate can become inflamed, and you experience pain and discomfort due to chronic bacterial prostatitis or acute bacterial prostatitis. 

Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction

A full bowel forms pressure on the bladder and prostate. Men tend to strain to defecate, which may weaken pelvic floor muscles. These particular muscles are vital for bladder control and bowel movement. 

Pelvic floor dysfunction is not uncommon, and it may further complicate your condition and lead to chronic pelvic pain syndrome and retrograde ejaculation. 

Overactive Bladder

As a result, the bladder and bowel don’t fill properly and may contract when they’re not supposed to. Overactive bladder is probably the most common problem men experience; it’s the sudden and urgent need to urinate, and it can be difficult to control.

Urinary Retention

Additionally, a high amount of feces in the bowel can cause incomplete emptying of the bladder. Remember, this is a common symptom of BPH. In turn, lower urinary tract problem aggravates, and your quality of life suffers too. That happens due to increased urinary frequency and urgency, but the bladder isn’t emptied properly when you go. 

PSA Levels

When discussing the relationship between constipation and prostate problems, it’s important to remember that the consequences are far more serious than most people believe. Combined with prostate enlargement, constipation can increase prostate-specific antigen or PSA levels.

Made by the prostate, PSA is a protein present in sperm. It’s also found in blood but in tiny amounts. Abnormally high PSA levels in blood imply something’s wrong in the gland. They may indicate you have prostate cancer. 

The most common prostate cancer symptoms include urge incontinence, urinary frequency and hesitancy, weak urine flow, feeling like the bladder hasn’t emptied fully, and bowel problems (especially if the advanced prostate cancer spreads to the bowel). Men who have colorectal cancer are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer too.

Management Of Bowel Issues Caused BPH

As mentioned, bowel issues and BPH are more connected than people generally believe. Below are some tips to help men with BPH manage bowel problems. 

  • Eat a fiber-rich diet to ensure regular bowel movements. Foods to include in your diet include prune juice, green vegetables, dried fruits, whole grains, etc.
  • Exercise regularly and step away from a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise can also help improve your sexual function and manage erectile dysfunction, a common problem in men with prostate conditions. 
  • Manage stress because it will help you eat more mindfully. When you’re stressed, you don’t chew your food thoroughly, which may contribute to constipation


An enlarged prostate may contribute to constipation. At the same time, BPH-related complications can cause serious bowel movement problems.  The story doesn’t end there. Constipation can affect the prostate too due to bacterial infection and other mechanisms of action. This tells us that we need to practice a healthy lifestyle and eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid foods that contribute to digestive problems and focus on foods that will help you have regular bowel movements.  I am hoping my guide regarding “enlarged prostate and bowel movement” will clarify your queries.

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  1. Ng M, Baradhi KM. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. 2021 Aug 11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32644346/
  2. Nickel JC. Inflammation and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Urol Clin North Am. 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2198849/
  3. Mac Giobuin S, Kavanagh DO, Ryan R, Kinsella A, Myers E, Evoy D, O’Higgins NJ, McDermott E. Acute colonic obstruction due to benign prostatic hypertrophy. Ir Med J. 2009. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19405320/
  4. Bayraktar Z, Inan EH, Bayraktar V. Effect of constipation on serum total prostate-specific antigen levels in men. Int J Urol. 2012. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22040453/


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