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Prostate Gland Enlargement
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Prostate Gland Enlargement

      Prostate gland enlargement can greatly affect a man's overall health. The condition, however, is highly manageable. The male prostate gland produces semen, the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm during ejaculation. The prostate rests beneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The urethra is the tube responsible for draining urine from the bladder, and when the prostate gland enlarges, it can place pressure on the urethra and cause difficulty urinating.

The causes of prostate gland enlargement are unknown, but many researchers believe that the prostate may become more susceptible to the effects of male hormones, such as testosterone, as the prostate gland ages. Many men experience a phase of prostate growth in their 40s. During this growth spurt, cells in the center of the prostate, where it surrounds the urethra, begin to produce more rapidly and the tissue in the area becomes greater. These tissues often compress the urethra, causing some blockage of urine flow. This condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Prostate gland enlargement affects 50% of men in their 60s, and 80% of men over 80.

Prostate enlargement does not always cause prostate problems in all men. The extent of enlargement varies, and it has been estimated that only 50% of men experiencing prostate enlargement seek medical help.

Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement

Signs of prostate gland enlargement include; a weak urine stream, problems starting to urinate, interrupted urination, dribbling once urination is complete, frequent urge to urinate, increased frequency of urination throughout the night (nocturia), blood present in the urine, and increased incidence of urinary tract infection.

Diagnosing prostate gland enlargement usually involves a review of any present prostate problems and symptoms, as well as a medical history, including medications currently being taken. This will likely be followed by a digital rectal exam, which then may be followed by a urine test, urinary flow test, and PSA test.

There are three primary risk factors for prostate enlargement. The primary risk factor is aging. It is unusual to see signs or symptoms of prostate gland enlargement in men under the age of 40, however, 50% of men in their 60s show signs of enlargement. Men with a family history of prostate gland enlargement have a higher incidence. National origin also plays a role, as studies show prostate enlargement is more common in white and black men than in the Asian population.

Treating Prostate Gland Enlargement

Many men find that an enlarged prostate causes them few problems. When the condition interferes with a man's ability to drain his bladder, the condition is deemed serious. Health risks associated with an inability to drain the bladder include infections and kidney damage.

Once your doctor has assessed the severity of the prostate's enlargement and it's potential health complications, a treatment strategy will be developed. There are a number of treatments for an enlarged prostate gland, including medications, non surgical therapies, and surgical procedures.

The Digital Urology Channel offers information about the prostate and prostate gland diseases and conditions. The Prostate Cancer Coalition website is an excellent resource for those managing the disease.

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