The prostate gland is the male organ that produces semen. It sits beneath your bladder and surrounds your urethra, the tube that drains urine from your bladder. When it becomes enlarged, the prostate can put pressure on your urethra and cause difficulty urinating.
Most men have a period in their mid-to-late 40s when their prostate begins to grow.1 At this time, cells in the central portion of the prostate reproduce more rapidly, resulting in prostate gland enlargement. As tissues in the area enlarge, they often compress the urethra and partially block urine flow. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical term for prostate gland enlargement.
BPH is a common condition generally affecting men over age 50. In fact by age 85, 90% of men have an enlarged prostate.2 Enlarged prostate or BPH is not life threatening nor is it cancerous; however, if left untreated it can lead to more serious health problems such as the inability to urinate, bladder stones, urinary tract infections or kidney damage.
1 Harvard Health Publications. Enlarged Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), 2008.
2 American Urological Association of Education and Research, Inc. Guideline on the Management of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), 2003.