Recent epidemiological studies suggest that much urological disease is untreated. However, the overall economic burden of urological diseases has never been systematically studied. This report estimates the economic burden of treated benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in the United Kingdom by considering the direct costs falling on the health service, the indirect costs in lost production, and the intangible costs in reduced quality of life. Depending on the assumptions made, the economic burden in 1990 is estimated to have been between 62 million pounds and 91 million pounds annually, excluding the intangible costs. The maximum cost to the National Health Service (NHS) represents approximately 0.4% of total NHS expenditure. This finding is therefore consistent with the results of recent epidemiological studies, which suggest that the main burden of BPH is borne by sufferers in terms of reduction in quality of life and is not reflected in consumption of health care resources. However, this balance may change as a result of the new General Practitioner contract and new treatment options.