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King Charles in hospital for 'corrective' procedure for an enlarged prostate. What to know

The King was seen arriving to hospital on Friday morning for a 'corrective' treatment.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: King Charles III visits The Royal Courts of Justice, Chancery Lane on December 14, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
King Charles is set to get treatment for an enlarged prostate, according to Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

King Charles is set to undergo surgery to treat his enlarged prostate. His Majesty was seen arriving at the private London Clinic with Queen Camilla on Friday morning according to People.

The King reportedly visited Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, who is recovering at the same hospital ahead of his own surgery. Earlier this week it was revealed Middleton, 42, will be spending the next 10 to 14 days in the hospital following a successful "planned abdominal surgery."

"The King was this morning admitted to a London hospital for scheduled treatment... His Majesty would like to thank all those who have sent their good wishes over the past week and is delighted to learn that his diagnosis is having a positive impact on public health awareness," Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement.

On Wednesday, the palace released a statement that the King "has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate... His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure."

NBC News reported earlier this week that a source from the palace noted the King "was keen to share the details of his diagnosis to encourage other men who may be experiencing symptoms to get checked, in line with public health advice."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18: In this photo illustration, A selection of front pages from UK daily national newspaper coverage of of King Charles and Catherine, The Princess of Wales being admitted to hospital on January 18, 2024 in London, England. Catherine, The Princess of Wales, was admitted to The London Clinic for abdominal surgery yesterday. The surgery was successful and she will recover in the hospital for the next 10-14 days and is not expected to resume formal engagements until after Easter. (Photo by Ming Yeung/Getty Images)
News of King Charles and Kate Middleton's health conditions were announced less than two hours apart on Jan. 17. (Photo by Ming Yeung/Getty Images)

But what exactly does treatment for an enlarged prostate — or benign prostatic hyperplasia — look like? Here's what you need to know.


What are the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate, where the cells of the gland get bigger, Dr. Kirk Lo, a urologist at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, recently told Yahoo Canada.

The prostate is a gland that's part of the male reproductive and urinary systems that produces some of the fluid in semen. Usually around the size of a walnut in younger men, it sits deep in the pelvis, below the bladder and in front of the rectum, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

But if the prostate grows, it may squeeze or partially block the urethra, potentially causing some of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty urinating

  • More frequent urination, especially at night

  • Strong or sudden urges to urinate

  • Weak or slow urine stream

  • Inability to completely empty the bladder, which can lead to urinary tract infections or bladder stones

  • Difficulty starting to urinate

  • Difficulty controlling the bladder

  • Blood in the urine

Experts are unsure why the prostate will grow in size, but age is the biggest factor when it comes to BPH. While the prostate usually continues to grow throughout a person's life after around the age of 25, men who are older have a greater chance of developing BPH.

"By the time we're 40 or 50, [men] have mild to moderate prostate enlargement, or BPH, and it will continue to get bigger as long as we have our testosterone," Lo explained.

By age 70, almost all men will have some prostate enlargement. Around 50 per cent of men between the ages of 51 and 60 have BPH. That number rises to 70 per cent among men aged 60 to 69, and jumps to 80 per cent in men over 70 years old, according to Yale Medicine.

Other risk factors include having extra fat on your abdomen and not getting enough exercise.


What does treatment look like?

While many men can tolerate their symptoms until treatment is required, Lo noted most health-care practitioners will start treating patients with medical therapy. That could include medications that help relax the muscles near the prostate to help relieve pressure on the urethra, or other medications to reduce the size of the prostate.

"If that doesn't help, they'll go on to surgical options," he added.

Surgery is used to treat BPH when medications stop working or if someone has severe symptoms, such as kidney failure due to an inability to urinate.

The most common surgical procedure is transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, which removes prostate tissue from the urethra.

Other procedures include laser prostatectomy to destroy prostate tissue, full surgery to remove the prostate as well as a non-surgical option called Rezūm, which uses water vapour therapy to help shrink the prostate.

Lo noted there are pros and cons to both medical therapy and surgery when treating BPH — and it mostly comes down to personal preference.

"Some people, for example myself, I'd probably go for surgery earlier rather than later," he added. "I don't want to be on medication indefinitely. Again, personal preference."

While some medications may cause ejaculatory dysfunction, Lo explained that most people who choose the surgical route will see those issues afterwards, as well as erectile dysfunction. However, he said many of his patients who chose the latter don't have regrets.

"I have so many patients who, after the surgery, they ask themselves, 'Why didn't I do that earlier? I'm peeing like I'm 20 years old,'" he noted.

Still, Lo urged people to visit their health-care practitioner if they have concerns.

"Men should see their doctors as they get older and they have urinary symptoms," he said. "Just go because we do have treatment — they don't have to suffer."

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