What is an enlarged prostate?
The prostate is a small gland that plays a role in reproduction as well as urination. It is divided into two sections which are completely covered by outer tissue
Prostate growth is a natural part of aging. The prostate first doubles in size during puberty and then grows again
when a man is around 25 years of age. The growing prostate does not cause problems in men until later in life when
it is called BPH or Benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is a common condition in 80% of men over 60 years of age.
It is not a malignant condition - however as it grows larger in older men, the layer of tissue surrounding it
grows tight causing the prostate to push against the urethra. This eventually leads to problems in urination and ejaculation.
Who can get affected by an enlarged prostate?
Prostate enlargement occurs in almost all men. It first occurs in puberty and then after 25 years of age is a common part of aging.
The symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate generally start to show in men over 40 years of age and is very common in men over 60.
What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate?
Most often an enlarged prostate will show no symptoms.
However when the prostate becomes large enough to press against the bladder and urethra, it can cause problems in
urination as well as ejaculation. When urine starts to accumulate, infections can occur and renal stones can also form.
Some of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate are
- inability to urinate completely
- need to urinate often
- waking up at night to urinate
- blood in the urine
- difficulty in sexual functions
What causes an enlarged prostate?
While the exact cause of prostate enlargement is not understood, it is known to be a part of aging.
With age, the amount of testosterone in men decreases causing the proportion of estrogen to be higher.
Animal studies have shown that higher amounts of estrogen promote cell growth which may cause the prostate to expand.
It is also believed that when DHT a testosterone derived substance produced in the prostate gets accumulated and causes prostate growth.
Scientists have found that men who do not produce DHT do not develop BPH.