The prostate is a gland that produces the fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine passes out of the body.An enlarged prostate means the gland has grown bigger. Prostate enlargement happens to almost all men as they get older. An enlarged prostate is often called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is not cancer, and it does not raise your risk for prostate cancer.
The actual cause of prostate enlargement is unknown. Factors linked to aging and changes in the cells of the testicles may have a role in the growth of the gland, as well as testosterone levels. Men who have had their testicles removed at a young age (for example, as a result of testicular cancer) do not develop BPH.
Also, if the testicles are removed after a man develops BPH, the prostate begins to shrink in size.
Some facts about prostate enlargement:
- - The likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate increases with age.
- - BPH is so common that it has been said all men will have an enlarged prostate if they live long enough.
- - A small amount of prostate enlargement is present in many men over age 40. More than 90% of men over age 80 have the condition.
- - No risk factors have been identified, other than having normally-functioning testicles.