The prostate gland is found only in men and is part of the male reproductive system. It has the size of a table-tennis ball and is located between the base of the penis and the anus.
The prostate is involved in producing a fluid (prostatic fluid) which forms part of the semen.
As men get older, the size of the prostate gland also generally increases. For some men, the prostate is not enlarged enough to cause any problems however for some others they may experience some symptoms which can be annoying.
Because the prostate is located at the base of the bladder and it wraps itself around the pipe that transports urine out of the bladder (the urethra), when it is enlarged it can cause symptoms due to obstruction of this pipe or irritation of the bladder.
The following are some of the symptoms which would suggest an enlarged prostate.
- Frequent urination in the day and at night
- Feeling unable to hold your urine when you feel the urge
- Poor flow of urine
- Finding it difficult to start passing urine
- Dribbling of urine
- A feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
What should I do if I feel these symptoms?
If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor who will examine your prostate to determine if it is enlarged.
They may also request some tests including urine tests, blood tests, and scan if needed.
Is there a treatment for an enlarged prostate?
There are a few options with respect to treating an enlarged prostate.
- Medication. There are effective tablets which can help to shrink the size of the prostate and relieve the pressure it causes on the urine pipes.
- Surgery. In the cases where medication hasn’t worked, surgical intervention might be required.
Why is it important to treat an enlarged prostate?
Enlarged prostate glands cause obstruction of the bladder and if this remains untreated for a long time, there can be a build-up of pressure in the urinary tract which can result in damage to the kidneys.
Also, an enlarged prostate can result in recurrent urine infections which also has the potential of affecting the kidneys and indeed the whole body.
Prostate enlargement can also result in a complete blockage of urine flow from the bladder (urinary retention) which can result in severe pain and also cause damage to the kidneys.