The cause of prostate enlargement is still unknown, but it is believed to be linked to hormonal changes that occur as men age. As the body's hormonal balance shifts, the prostate gland can grow in size. This process, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a normal part of aging and affects almost all men. The prostate is a male gland located below the bladder and is roughly the size of a chestnut.
It partially encloses the urethra, which can become narrowed due to an enlarged prostate. This narrowing can cause several symptoms, such as a slow or delayed start to urination, frequent nighttime urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, a strong and sudden need to urinate, and incontinence. However, not all men with BPH experience symptoms or have symptoms that limit their lifestyle. Treatment options are available and depend on the severity of symptoms, how much they affect lifestyle, and any other medical conditions present.
Men with BPH should visit their doctor annually to monitor their symptoms and determine the best course of action. The prostate typically increases in size as men age, growing from the size of a walnut in young men to much larger sizes. An enlarged prostate may not cause visible symptoms, but it can eventually lead to urinary and erectile dysfunction if left untreated. There is some evidence that suggests that having a father or brother with an enlarged prostate may increase your risk of developing one yourself.
Additionally, obese men and those with diabetes may be more likely to experience BPH. The exact cause of prostate enlargement is still unknown, but it may be related to age-related hormonal changes. If bothersome symptoms are present, medications can reduce the size of the prostate and relax the bladder and prostate muscles so that you don't feel the need to urinate as often. Some men with an enlarged prostate may not have any symptoms at all. However, further research is needed to determine if we can prevent prostate enlargement and how to do so. Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men; one in nine men will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime, while one in six African-American men will be diagnosed.
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate can range from mild and barely noticeable to severe. Prostate enlargement isn't usually serious but can have a significant impact on your lifestyle if you're constantly running to the bathroom. If you're experiencing bothersome symptoms due to an enlarged prostate, talk to your doctor about treatment options.