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I am a 61 year old male diagnosed with prostate enlargement about 3 years ago. All tests were clear for prostate cancer and my condition is not usually a problem. My only other problem which I suffered through my entire life is constipation.

Recently I had a flare up of the prostate and it has not gone down completely but the pain eased over the past few days. While the pain was quite bad, I noticed that I was more constipated than normal.

I am wondering if my prostate has become so big now that it is pressing against my colon and making the constipation worse during these episodes. Is this possible?

1 Comment on this article

  • Dr. Chris September 12, 2010

    It is possible and can occur for a number of reasons apart from just pressure on the rectum.

    Prostatic enlargement (BPH, prostatitis, prostatic cancer) can press on the rectum and cause a partial obstruction thereby resulting in constipation. It must be noted that the enlargement would have to be significant for this to occur. With moderate enlargement the bowel movements would still be normal although the stool would be thinner and longer than the usual stool. Often, there is no change in bowel movement at all with an enlarged prostate.

    However, in your case, you do mention that you have suffered with constipation throughout your life.

    During the times of acute exacerbations (prostatic enlargement), your prostate is more inflamed and more sensitive than usual. It is possible that the distended rectum/colon due to the constipation is pressing against your enlarged prostate thereby causing pain.

    Another point to consider is that pain causes a host of changes in the body and constipation may occur with the pain, even if the site of the pain is not near the colon/rectum. Lastly, the common nerves and local reflexes can affect bowel movement as a result of the prostate pain.

    You should speak to your urologist about this and possibly see a gastroenterologist for your constipation. Once normal bowel movements have been established, you may find that you will not get constipated even when you have these acute exacerbations of your prostate. If however it does occur, then both your urologist and gastroenterologist will have to work together to find a solution for this problem.

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