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How to Diagnose and Treat an Enlarged Prostate Gland

An enlarged prostate gland is a common problem for older men that increases with age. In fact, 90% of men over the age of eighty will experience at least mild symptoms that are the result of an enlarged prostate. For some men, the symptoms of this condition will never become severe enough to warrant treatment. However, other men will find that an enlarge prostate gland can present a host of urinary tract problems that get in the way of daily life. In these cases, there are a number of options in treatment available to help these men reduce their symptoms to a manageable level.

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a gland that sits in front of the rectum and immediately beneath the bladder. It is responsible for producing semen, the milky white substance that is seen during ejaculation. Because this gland also surrounds the urethra and enlarged prostate gland can get in the way of normal urinary tract function. In some cases, it may simply result in an increased need to urinate that never becomes frequent enough to be a problem. For others, the interference can keep men up at night with frequent bathroom trips or get in the way of plane rides, meetings and even long commutes by car.

Why does it Grow?

During childhood, the prostate grows from the size of a pea to the size of a walnut. Once a man turns forty, the prostate begins to grow again, reaching the size of an orange or even a grapefruit in some men. While the enlarged prostate gland is not a serious problem by itself, it can create potentially serious complications with the urinary tract. It can also be the sign of another medical issue, like bladder stones or prostate cancer. This is why it is important for men who experience symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland to see their doctor to rule out other possible causes.

What can be Done?

Some men never seek treatment for an enlarged prostate gland, because the symptoms never become bothersome enough to be addressed. Other men will ask for treatment options to help them regain their quality of life before the enlarged prostate gland. These treatment options may include medication to reduce symptoms or shrink the prostate, medical procedures that can reduce prostate size or enlarged prostate surgery to remove a portion of the prostate. Treatment will be determined by the age and overall health of the patient, and the preferences of both the doctor and patient. Many doctors will begin with the less invasive treatment possibilities and move to other choices when needed.

An enlarged prostate gland may not indicate a serious medical concern, but many men seek treatment just the same. If you are experiencing symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland, talk to your doctor for a definite diagnosis and treatment options.

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