A man’s prostate grows naturally with age
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland below a man’s bladder that is responsible for production of fluid for semen. As men age, the prostate grows larger, the cause of which is unclear but may be related to hormones or to cellular changes in the testicles. Having an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), is not a concern itself, nor does it mean that the man will develop cancer. However, because the prostate surrounds the urethra (thin tube that carries urine), the enlarged organ can put pressure on the urethra and may cause symptoms, such as:
- Frequent urination
- Dribbling of urine
- Decreased flow of urine
- Taking longer to urinate
Aside from the inconvenience of these types of symptoms, if the condition is left unchecked it could lead to urinary tract infection or kidney infection. In very rare cases, an enlarged prostate indicates cancer.
Diagnosis and treatment of enlarged prostate
Different tests can help determine whether you have an enlarged prostate. Your doctor may choose to use one or several of the following:
- Digital rectal exam
- Urine and blood test
- Biopsy (if cancer is suspected)
- Urine flow study
Your doctor may also recommend cystoscopy, an endoscopic procedure that allows the doctor to see the interior lining of your bladder and urethra.
Depending on the severity of your condition and other health considerations, certain medications, therapies and lifestyle changes may be recommended. In some cases, surgery may be an option.