What is the prostate gland? The prostate is a small organ about the size of a walnut. It lies below the bladder (where urine is stored) and surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder). The prostate makes a fluid that helps to nourish sperm as part of the semen (ejaculatory fluid).
Prostate problems are common in men 50 and older. Most can be treated successfully without harming sexual function. A urologist is a specialist in diseases of the urinary system, including diagnosing and treating problems of the prostate gland.
How does the doctor detect prostate enlargement?
A doctor usually can detect an enlarged prostate by rectal exam. The doctor also may examine the urethra, prostate, and bladder using a cytoscope, an instrument that is inserted through the penis.
What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is nonmalignant (noncancerous) enlargement of the prostate gland, a common occurrence in older men. It is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia and abbreviated as BPH.
When does benign prostatic hyperplasia start?
BPH generally begins in a man’s 30s, evolves slowly, and most commonly only causes symptoms after 50.
What happens in BPH? What are symptoms of BPH?
In BPH, the prostate gland grows in size. It may compress the urethra which courses through the center of the prostate. This can impede the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra to the outside. It can cause urine to back up in the bladder (retention) leading to the need to urinate frequently during the day and night. Other common symptoms include a slow flow of urine, the need to urinate urgently and difficulty starting the urinary stream. More serious problems include urinary tract infections and complete blockage of the urethra, which may be a medical emergency and can lead injury to the kidneys.