Taking Care of You
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder and behind the rectum in the male body. The gland secretes a fluid that is essential to the production of semen and is important for healthy sexual function.
Enlargement of the prostate
Over a man’s lifetime the prostate grows in size. When a man turns 40, the prostate gland may have grown in size from a walnut to that of an apricot. By age 60, the it might get to be the size of a lemon in some men.
An enlarged prostate is also called benign (noncancerous) prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, and is a common source of discomfort. The enlarged gland surrounds part of the urethra, decreasing the size of the channel and causing problems in passing urine. While these problems usually don’t occur in men until age 50, they can start earlier.
Some of the more common symptoms of an enlarged prostate may include:
Frequent urination, especially at night
Trouble starting the flow of urine or urinating freely
Sudden urges to urinate
Straining to urinate
Starting and stopping repeatedly while urinating
Having to strain to urinate
An enlarged prostate is very common – 8 out of every 10 men will develop one – and there is no way to prevent it.
Today, there is an extensive range of treatments for an enlarged prostate, including making changes in one’s lifestyle (e.g. limiting fluid consumption before bedtime, especially those which contain caffeine and alcohol), medications and, in some cases, minimally invasive surgery.