As men age, they may experience a common condition known as an enlarged prostate. This occurs when the prostate, a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder, becomes enlarged and squeezes the urethra, making it difficult to urinate. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate can include a more frequent or urgent need to urinate, difficulty starting to urinate, and a weak urine flow or a stream that starts and stops. While having an enlarged prostate does not increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and contact your doctor if you experience any of them.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it is important to contact McIver Clinic: painful urination, fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), chills, or body aches. Your doctor will diagnose an enlarged prostate by performing a digital rectal exam to check the size of the prostate, testing a urine sample to rule out an infection that could cause similar health problems, and performing a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The cause of prostate enlargement is unknown, but it is thought to be related to hormonal changes as men age. Some studies show that obese men and those with diabetes may be more likely to develop an enlarged prostate.
There is also some research that suggests that you may be at greater risk of developing an enlarged prostate if your father or brother has one. Left untreated, an enlarged prostate can cause a sudden inability to urinate, urinary tract infections, and damage to the bladder or kidneys. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and contact your doctor if you experience any of them. While more research is needed on the causes of prostate enlargement, it is important to take steps to protect your health.