Many people feel uncomfortable talking about the prostate, since the gland plays a role in both sex and urination. However taboo the topic, prostate enlargement is a common part of aging. Millions of men visit doctors ever year for an enlarged prostate. But before we define prostate enlargement and its causes, let's first locate the prostate.
The prostate is a walnut-sized reproductive gland that surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body. It is located beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. The prostate produces phosphatase, an enzyme found in semen (milky substance that combines with sperm to form semen).
What is prostate enlargement?
An enlarged prostate means the gland has grown bigger. As the gland grows, it can press on the urethra and cause urination and bladder problems. An enlarged prostate is often called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is not cancer, and it does not raise your risk for prostate cancer.
The prostate grows in two different ways. In one type of growth, cells multiply around the urethra and create pressure. The second type of growth occurs when cells grow into the urethra and the bladder outlet area.
What causes prostate enlargement? Doctors speculate on what might cause the prostate to enlarge. But some men are at greater risk than others of developing an enlarged prostate. Learn more about enlarged prostate causes and risk factors here.
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