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Enlarged Prostate

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/20/15  8:33 AM PST
colonoscopy for early detection and screening

Having an enlarged prostate can mean something as simple as an occasional annoyance for a man or as complicated as needing surgery. It can lead to complications with emptying the bladder or cause a frequent need to urinate. The reason for this is that the prostate gland sits directly below the bladder, and as it enlarges, it can put pressure on the bladder and the urethra.

Reasons to visit the doctor, regardless of whether you suspect an enlarged prostate include difficulty urinating (more frequent need to pee during the day, waking up more than twice per night to pee, trouble with starting to urinate, dribbling at the end of urination, a weaker than usual urine stream, or finding it easier to urinate while sitting down), bladder infections, blood in the urine or the inability to urinate at all.

The prostate gland’s purpose is to produce fluid that makes up a portion of semen. The fluid produced by the prostate helps protect the genetic material contained in the sperm, along with serving other functions. The prostate also contains smooth muscles that help with ejaculation.

I’m having trouble urinating – could it be an an enlarged prostate?

When the prostate gland is enlarged and the cause is not cancer or inflammation, it is referred to as “benign prostatic hyperplasia.” But it is important to visit your doctor or urologist to have this diagnosis confirmed if you suspect an enlarged prostate. Tests will need to be done to rule out other problems.

What test will be done to determine if I have benign prostatic hyperplasia?

Tests may include a digital rectal exam (also know as a prostate exam — it’s the one comedians have been making jokes about for years), a urine test and a blood test. The rectal exam will confirm that your prostate is enlarged. The urine test can check for an infection that could cause inflammation. And the blood test can check for issues with your kidneys and also give signs for prostate cancer.

What causes an enlarged prostate?

It’s not exactly clear what the reason is behind an enlarged prostate, though prostates continue to grow throughout a man’s life. There is some association with obesity, genetics, erectile dysfunction, type 2 diabetes and overall poor health. If it does turn out you have a benign prostatic hyperplasia, know that you’re not alone! “About one-third of men experience moderate to severe symptoms by age 60, and about half do so by age 80.” [Source.]

If you are having trouble with urination, it’s time to call your doctor and discuss your current symptoms. If it’s your first time visiting your urologist, you can find ways to prepare for your visit here.

For more information, see related articles and urological resources here:

Sources for this article:

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