Prostate enlargement is a common finding as men age. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, stimulates prostate growth over time, leading to a variety of urinary symptoms. The prostate is a walnut sized organ that produces semen and lays directly beneath the bladder, surrounding the urine tube (urethra) like a doughnut. With time, prostate growth begins to pinch urine flow through the urethra. Common symptoms of an enlarged prostate include decreased urinary stream, difficulty starting urination, getting up 2 or more times a night to urinate, dribbling, straining to urinate and frequent urination. Bathroom breaks take longer and are more frequent.
Benign enlargement (BPH) and growth due to malignancy often present with the same symptoms, although blood in the semen or urine would be more concerning for prostate cancer. Although it is a tough sell, men over 40 years of age should have a yearly rectal exam to assess prostate health, even if they do not have any symptoms. PSA blood measurements are also frequently used in men 50 and older, although medical experts don’t fully agree on whether this should be universally recommended. Medications such as Proscar and Flomax are commonly used to decrease symptoms in benign enlargement, while surgery, radiation and/or hormonal therapy are treatments reserved for prostate cancer…Richard R Samuel, MD Family Practice and Urgent Care