A man’s prostate gets larger with age — generally starting after age 40. But as the prostate grows, it can press on the urethra, which can lead to urination problems.
The prostate is a male reproductive gland that produces the fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body. The urethra carries urine from the bladder through the penis’ tip.
An enlarged prostate is most common among men over age 60. Nearly 90 percent of men over age 80 suffer from an enlarged prostate, while a small number of men over age 40 deal with an enlarged prostate.
With that said, the National Institutes of Health said an enlarged prostate is virtually inevitable among older men. Despite other effects, an enlarged prostate doesn’t increase a man’s prostate cancer risk, according to the NIH.
What causes an enlarged prostate is unknown. While aging is a recurring theme, the testicles may also play a role.
For instance, the NIH reports, young men, who’ve had their testicles removed, don’t develop an enlarged prostate. And, if the testicles are removed after a man develops an enlarged prostate, the prostate begins shrinking. Functioning testicles are the only factors determining the occurrence of an enlarged prostate.
Most men do not have “typical” symptoms of the disease, but when they do, some report having dribbling at the end of urinating, urinary retention, incontinence, incomplete emptying of the bladder and pain with urination or bloody urine.
Treatment options for an enlarged prostate vary depending on the severity of the condition. Many doctors take the “wait and see” approach, where a patient is carefully monitored. In some cases, patients are given medication or at times surgery is needed to relieve the pain.