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What is an Enlarged Prostate?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

An enlarged prostate exists when a physician determines that the size of the prostate has exceeded what is considered a normal range. Because the prostate may undergo a period of growth during the forties and fifties, it is not uncommon for a male to have an enlarged prostate. In many cases, the growth is limited and does not cause any real problems. However, an accelerated growth of the prostate can lead to a number of health issues and may also be an indicator of a more serious health risk.

Enlarged prostates usually do not develop earlier in life. After the mid-twenties, the average size of the prostate is roughly that of a walnut. However, changes in the balance between testosterone and estrogen in the male body may trigger a period of modest growth in men as they approach middle age. For many men, the slight growth does not produce any significant side effects or problems. However, it is important for men to have annual prostate exams after the age of forty in order to make sure this growth does not exceed certain limits.

When the enlarged prostate does not advance beyond an acceptable level and the prostate continues to function and appear to be healthy, the condition is referred to as benign prostate hyperplasia. While the prostate is now larger than in early adulthood, there is no evidence of infection or disease, and the male is not experiencing such problems as difficulty with urination or the appearance of blood in the urine. While enlarged, the prostate is not interfering with any bodily functions and simply should be monitored to ensure any future changes do not go unnoticed.

However, a severely enlarged prostate may be a sign of serious underlying health issues. These may include the presence of cancer in the prostate. This is why regular prostate exams are essential to maintaining good health after reaching the age of forty. By noting changes in the size and texture of the prostate, a physician can often identify the problem in its early stages and take proper action to contain and correct the problem.

While a moderately enlarged prostate is nothing to worry about, it is important to report any pains in the general area of the organ, along with changes in urination or the presence of blood to the doctor immediately. Men should also make it a point to have a prostate exam conducted on an annual basis or more often if recommended by a physician. By treating such conditions as prostitis or prostate cancer early, there is an excellent chance of enjoying a full recovery.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon21093 — On Nov 10, 2008

I'm no doctor, but I have found myself getting up at night to urinate when I was not sleeping well. But I am not sure it was so much the not sleeping as it was whatever triggered the insomnia; in other words, I think the inability to stay asleep and the frequent urination are both symptoms of something else, maybe nerves or worry.

By jasoon — On Nov 10, 2008

Is frequent urination triggered by lack of sleep? I am guessing it could be a cause, but with me its like a trigger. When I get enough sleep I am fine, But if I don't its the first symptom.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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