Q:

What causes an enlarged prostate?

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Quick Answer

The exact cause of enlarged prostate is unknown, but factors such as cell changes in functioning testicles and aging may play a role, according to MedlinePlus. After age 80, over 90 percent of men have an enlarged prostate.

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Full Answer

Men who have their testicles removed while they are young never experience an enlarged prostate, and the prostate begins to decrease in size if a man with enlarged prostate has his testicles removed, states MedlinePlus. The increasing number of cells that grow the prostate gland may be affected by growth factors, androgen and estrogen, says eMedicineHealth. As the prostate grows, it begins to squeeze the urethra, inhibiting the proper function of the bladder.

An enlarged prostate often causes no symptoms, but roughly half of patients experience the frequent need to urinate at night, incontinence, dribbling during urination, the inability to empty the bladder fully, incontinence or the strong urge to urinate, notes MedlinePlus. Patients may also strain during urination or have difficulty starting urination. Symptoms more commonly occur in patients over age 60. Treatment options for the condition include self-care, certain medications, surgery and herbal remedies such as saw palmetto. Enlarged prostate may eventually lead to urinary stones or urinary tract infections.

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