For the early part of men’s lives, their prostate is an organ that they never notice. The walnut-shaped reproductive organ located just below the bladder does its job without causing any interruptions in their daily lives. However, this changes as men age. Beginning around age 40, their prostates begin to grow. According to board-certified urologist Dr. Billy Vanasupa, “There’s no rhyme or reason, it just does.”

The rate of growth is different for everyone. The prostate will grow faster in some men than in others. In some cases, the enlarging prostate can cause problems immediately for a man in his early 40s. In other cases, men may be in their 80s or 90s before they begin to see the effects of a growing prostate. Most commonly though, men in their late 50s and early 60s begin to experience urinary issues that begin slowly and increase in severity.

Some of the most common issues are the slowing of the urine stream, pushing to urinate, having to go back to the bathroom 10-15 minutes after urinating, feeling like the bladder may not be fully emptied, and having to get up frequently at night to go to the bathroom. All the symptoms can be associated with the frequent and sudden urge to use the bathroom.

These symptoms are a sign that it is time for a man to see his urologist. The symptoms will only increase in severity without treatment as the prostate continues to grow. The urologist will begin by helping a patient understand what is causing the issue, using a diagram to show where the prostate is and how it presses on the urethra as it grows. The enlarging prostate makes it difficult for urine to pass through the urethra on its way out of the body.

Treatment begins with medication to help with urination. These medicines help slow the growth of the prostate and relax the muscles around the bladder to make urination easier. A urologist also will do a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. Not all cases of prostate enlargement are connected to cancer growth, but it is important to screen for the disease as a precaution.

Men’s bodies change in many ways as they age, and the prostate is no exception. Urologists at the Advanced Urology Institute focus on making sure their patients understand how their bodies are changing with age and how they can work with their urologist to stay in the best shape. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

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