King Charles enlarged prostate: What treatment is he having?

King Charles is being treated for an enlarged prostate, Buckingham Palace announced last week. The condition, which is common in men aged over 50, is not cancer and not usually a serious threat to health.

The announcement came the same day as the news Kate, Princess of Wales was in hospital after undergoing abdominal surgery.

The prostate is a small gland, located in the pelvis, between the penis and bladder. If the prostate becomes enlarged, this places pressure on the bladder and the urethra, the tube that urine passes through.

For this reason, symptoms of an enlarged prostate include finding it difficult to start peeing, straining to pee, having a weak flow of urine, and needing to pee urgently.

It was revealed His Majesty is undergoing a “corrective procedure”, which is one of four main treatments for an enlarged prostate.

The treatment for an enlarged prostate will depend on how badly the symptoms are affecting your quality of life.

Treatment for an enlarged prostate

There are four main treatments for the condition, according to the NHS:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medicine
  • Catheters
  • Surgery and other procedures

Lifestyle changes

In some cases, the symptoms of an enlarged prostate can be relieved with some simple lifestyle changes, such as drinking fewer fizzy drinks and less alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners, and drinking less fluid in the evening.

The health service says you should also remember to empty your bladder, particularly before long journeys or when you know you will not be able to reach a toilet easily, eat more fibre, and so bladder training – an exercise programme that aims to help you last longer without peeing and hold more pee in your bladder.


If lifestyle changes don’t help, you may be offered medicine. Some of the medicines you may be recommended are:

  • Alpha blockers
  • Anticholinergics
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors
  • Diuretics
  • Desmopressins
  • Mirabegron

If you have a larger prostate you may be recommended more than one type of medicine.


If you continue to have trouble peeing and surgery is not suitable for you, you may need a catheter to drain your bladder.

The NHS explains: “A urinary catheter is a soft tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder. It can be passed through your penis, or through a small hole made in your tummy, above your pubic bone.

“You may be recommended a removable catheter, or a catheter that stays in your bladder for a longer period of time.”

Surgery and other procedures

Most men with urinary symptoms don’t need to have surgery, but if other treatments haven’t worked or symptoms are severe this may be an option.

One of the most common surgeries to treat an enlarged prostate is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

TURP involves removing part of the prostate gland using a device called a resectoscope that’s passed through the urethra.

Holmium laser is a treatment that uses a laser to remove the portion of the prostate that is blocking the flow of pee.

Water ablation may also be used, and there are two types. With the first, water is injected into the prostate using a probe passed up the urethra. The pressure of the water is then used to destroy some of the prostate tissue to make it smaller. The second type uses steam rather than water.

Other potential procedures are:

  • Greenlight XPS
  • Prostatic urethral lift (PUL) implants
  • Cystoplasty
  • Prostate artery embolisation
  • Urinary diversion
  • PLASMA system
  • Bladder neck incision (prostatotomy)
  • Open prostatectomy

If you think you have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, see a GP.

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