What is enlarged prostate?

An enlarged prostate is the slow growth of the prostate gland, which is involved in the production of seminal fluid and reproductive function in men. The prostate wraps around the tube that transports urine out of the bladder. It is very common for the prostate gland to become enlarged as a man ages. An enlarged prostate is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is generally not caused by infection or cancer.

As a man matures, the prostate grows. At puberty, the prostate doubles in size. At about age 25, the prostate gland grows again, and this can lead to an enlarged prostate as a man enters his 40s (Source: NIDDK).

An enlarged prostate many not cause any symptoms or noticeable problems in some men. However, as men age, an enlarged prostate may grow to the point where it presses on the bladder and urethra, causing urine flow to be slower and less forceful. Symptoms of enlarged prostate are very common in men in the 60s and extremely common in men in their 70s and 80s.

If an enlarged prostate prevents complete emptying of your bladder, it may lead to a urinary tract infection or permanent damage to your bladder, including the inability to control urination (incontinence). The earlier the enlarged prostate is found, the more effective treatment will be, lowering the risk for complications.

Your health care provider must determine whether your symptoms are a result of enlarged prostate or are the result of other prostate diseases and disorders, such as an infection or cancer. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe rectal pain, or the inability to urinate. Seek prompt medical care if you experience other symptoms along with enlarged prostate, including burning or pain during urination, cloudy urine, or lower back pain, or if you are being treated for an infection or prostate cancer but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of enlarged prostate?

Symptoms of enlarged prostate generally include the blockage of the urethra, a gradual loss of bladder function, and incomplete emptying of the bladder. The severity of the symptoms will vary from person to person and the symptoms may not be dependent on the size of the prostate. Some men with very enlarged prostates have few or no symptoms, while those with a lesser degree of prostate enlargem... Read more about enlarged prostatesymptoms


What causes enlarged prostate?

As a man matures, the prostate grows. At puberty, the prostate doubles in size and at about age 25, the prostate gland grows again. This continued growth can lead to an enlarged prostate as a man enters his 40s.

What causes the prostate to grow throughout a man’s lifetime is not known. Scientific research has focused on several theories for enlarged prostate, including changes in ... Read more about enlarged prostatecauses


How is enlarged prostate treated?

Treatment for enlarged prostate will vary depending on the severity of the symptoms. Your health care provider may start with drug treatment before considering more invasive options, such as surgery.


Medications for enlarged prostate inhibit hormone production, and this can cause the prostate to stop growing. These medications include:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Male Reproductive System