It is normal for a prostate to become enlarged as a man ages. The prostate is approximately the size of a walnut in younger men but can grow to be much larger as they get older. An enlarged prostate can cause no visible symptoms but will eventually impact urinary and erectile functions if not properly treated.
There are many reasons a prostate gets enlarged, and most of them aren’t cancerous. Here are the most common:
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Because it partly surrounds the urethra, an enlarged prostate can squeeze its tube and cause urination problems. This condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). It isn’t yet clear why the prostate enlarges as men get older, but it may have to do with the changes in hormones associated with age. Though BPH cannot be prevented, it is a common condition with a range of available treatment options, including TULSA. BPH is an easily treated condition common in men over the age of 50.
Prostatitis is an infection or inflammation of the prostate. Though it shares similar symptoms to BPH, it is not the same condition. It can cause difficult urination, pain in the groin, pelvic area or genitals and sometimes flu-like symptoms. Depending on the cause, inflammation can occur gradually or suddenly. Sometimes a cause cannot be identified, but if it’s due to a bacterial infection, it can usually be treated with antibiotics. Prostatitis affects men of all ages but more commonly affects men 50 or younger.
Testosterone Therapy (T-Therapy)
As men age, their testosterone levels start to decline. If the decline is significant, men may suffer from a decrease in sexual desire, infertility, erectile dysfunction, sleep issues, loss of muscle and bone density, or unexplained weight gain. To alleviate symptoms a doctor may recommend Testosterone Therapy through patches, creams, injections, or oral medication to increase testosterone levels. Men who participate in Testosterone Therapy can experience BPH conditions as a side effect.
Prostate cancer starts when cells in the prostate gland begin to grow out of control. Some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and need minimal to no treatment, while other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. When left undiagnosed and untreated, prostate cancer cells can spread to other areas of the body. Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men, with one in nine men diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime; for African-American men, one in six.
If you’re suffering from symptoms pointing to an enlarged prostate, it’s important to identify the cause so you can get the right treatment. Contact us to schedule a Prostate MRI; a scan of your prostate is the best way to rule out cancer, identify the problem, and figure out the best form of treatment.