The prostate gland is located underneath the bladder and is about the size of a chestnut. Part of the urethra is encased within the prostate gland. As a man ages, the prostate typically enlarges in size in a process called benign hypertrophy (non-cancerous enlargement). The enlarged prostate crowds its surrounding structures and may cause the urethra to narrow. The narrowed urethra results in several of the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Symptoms may include a slowed or delayed start in urination, the need to urinate frequently during the night, difficulty in emptying the bladder, a strong, sudden urge to urinate, and incontinence. Less than half of all men with BPH have symptoms of the disease, or their symptoms are minor and do not restrict their life style. BPH is a normal physiological process of aging and treatment options are available. The choice of the appropriate treatment is based on the severity of the symptoms, the extent to which they effect lifestyle, and the presence of other medical conditions. Men with BPH should consult with their physician yearly to monitor the progression of the symptoms and decide the best course of treatment as needed.
Last reviewed 10/4/2008 by David R. Knowles MD, Scottsdale Urologic Surgeons, Scottsdale, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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