What is an enlarged prostate and how will King Charles be treated?

26 January 2024, 11:17

King Charles is undergoing prostate treatment
King Charles is undergoing prostate treatment. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

King Charles has arrived at hospital for treatment on his enlarged prostate.

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The monarch has used his condition to raise awareness among men, which was partly why he has been so public about it.

Searches about prostate conditions have spiked since he revealed he would need treatment.

What is an enlarged prostate?

The prostate is a small gland found in men. It produces a fluid that mixes with sperm to produce semen.

It's usually shaped about the size of a walnut but it gets can get bigger as men age.

Enlargement is a common condition, with symptoms affecting more than a third of men aged over 50.

Experts don't know for sure why it gets bigger, but it is not caused by cancer and it won't affect a patient's chances of getting it.

Read more: King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive at hospital ahead of his prostate treatment

King Charles is in hospital for prostate treatment
King Charles is in hospital for prostate treatment. Picture: Alamy

What are the signs of an enlarged prostate and is it harmful?

According to the NHS, signs include difficulty starting or stopping urinating, a weak flow of urine, straining while peeing or feeling like you are not able to fully empty your bladder.

Prolonged dribbling after finishing urinating, needing to urinate more frequently and having to regularly get up at night to go to the toilet are also symptoms.

Read more: 'Take it easy', Queen Camilla tells 'workaholic' King Charles ahead of prostate op - after monarch's 516 jobs in 2023

How is an enlarged prostate treated?

Symptoms can be alleviated by reducing alcohol, tea and coffee consumption before going to bed, while medicine is available to reduce its size.

The London Clinic is under guard
The London Clinic is under guard. Picture: Alamy

Alpha blockers, anticholinergics and diuretics are among the medicines that can be prescribed.

Changes to your lifestyle, like ensuring your bladder is definitely empty, eating more fibre and training your bladder are all options.

A catheter could be installed if a patient struggles to urinate and surgery is unsuitable.

Otherwise, a man may need to go under the knife - though most don't need to resort to it.

In severe cases, where medicine does not help, the inner part of the prostate may be surgically removed.

What will happen to King Charles?

Few details about what King Charles's treatment will entail have been revealed.

He has gone to the London Clinic for the treatment - the same place where Kate is staying after abdominal surgery.

It is unknown how long he will need to be in hospital.