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 a man’s hormone levels. These theories on hormonal changes that may cause enlarged prostate include:

  • A drop in male hormones (testosterone) and an excess of female hormones (estrogen)
  • Continuing accumulation of a growth hormone (dihydrotestosterone, or DHT)
  • Inactive growth hormones that are “reawakened” as a man ages

Your health care provider must determine whether the enlarged prostate may be a symptom of a more serious prostate disease or disorder, including prostate cancer.

What are the risk factors for enlarged prostate?

The risk factors for enlarged prostate are not known. Not all people with risk factors will get enlarged prostate. Risk factors for enlarged prostate include:

  • Aging process
  • Changes in hormonal levels


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... Read more about enlarged prostateintroduction


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


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