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What Are the Most Common Causes of Prostate Swelling?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are three main causes of prostate swelling: prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and prostate cancer. Prostatitis, the most common among the three, has its own set of probable causes, including bacterial infections, disorders of the immune or nervous systems, and direct injury to the prostate. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, on the other hand, is believed to be caused by an overproduction of male hormones, particularly testosterone. Prostate cancer begins when cancer cells develop and reproduce at a rapid pace. Treatment for prostate swelling depends largely on the cause.

Among patients with prostate swelling, prostatitis is identified in a majority of cases. This generally occurs when urine leaks from the bladder into the prostate, carrying with it harmful bacteria. The body's immune system reacts to the infection and causes the gland to swell. Treatment for bacterial prostatitis usually involves antibiotic medication. If the infection isn't completely eliminated over the course of treatment, there is a chance that the bacteria will reproduce, resulting in chronic bacterial prostatitis.

Prostatitis can also be symptomatic of immune or nervous system disorders. The body can mistake stimuli in and around the prostate as a potential risk, reacting to them in a fashion similar to bacterial prostatitis. In some cases, the prostate can swell as a result of physical trauma. Direct blows, accidental or otherwise, to the groin can impact the gland, resulting in a swollen prostate.

Another common cause of prostate swelling, benign prostatic hyperplasia, is often the result of natural causes. The prostate gland experiences two stages of significant growth: puberty and middle age. These periods are marked by an increase in the individual's testosterone levels. Many men, however, do not experience excessive prostate swelling during middle age. Experts theorize that benign prostatic hyperplasia is a result of the prostate gland developing a sensitivity to testosterone, increasing the hormone's effects on the gland's growth; as such, treatment often involves lowering the amount of prostate-specific antigens in the system.

Prostate cancer, on the other hand, has no clear causes prior to the development of cancer cells; exposure to carcinogenic substances like tobacco smoke, however, increases the risk of these cells developing. If cancer cells are left untreated, their genetic makeup might mutate, shifting the growths from benign to malignant. Once the cancer becomes malignant, prostate swelling will occur at an alarming pace, causing intense discomfort and difficulty for the patient. Various treatment options for prostate cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and removal of the prostate gland.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1002837 — On Mar 01, 2020

In the last year at age 66 I have had 2 incidents whereby my urine stream stopped and started and was very slow. I related the incidents to a low grade fever I attributed to colds. I am using this website to confirm my thoughts. While a cold may not be the cause the symptoms were temporary. Peeing urgency was not a factor. I'm watching closely, and will visit a urologist if symptoms occur again.

By anon954219 — On May 30, 2014

@zipline: I'm having the same problem. I'm pretty sure it's from mountain biking.

By fBoyle — On Oct 24, 2013

I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I think that technically, enlarged prostate is BPH and swollen prostate is prostatitis. Prostatitis by definition means the inflammation of the prostate. BPH means enlargement of the prostate.

BPH and prostatits symptoms are similar, but BPH has a totally different cause. It's due to nodule formation in the prostate, not due to a bacterial infection. So naturally, the treatment is very different.

By ZipLine — On Oct 23, 2013

For the past several weeks, I've been waking several times during the night to go to the bathroom. I always sleep through the night without getting up so this is very odd for me. I also go to the bathroom more frequently during the day and I feel like I can't control the stream. The stream starts and stops on its own while I urinate.

Does anyone else here have these symptoms? Does this sound like prostatits or BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)? What's the treatment for BPH?

By candyquilt — On Oct 23, 2013

I'm guessing that prostate swelling is the same thing as enlarged prostate?

Are there any remedies or homeopathic treatments for prostate swelling caused by prostatitis?

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