Prostate Problems and Related Urinary Symptoms
Many men have problems with the prostate at some time in their lives. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It’s located just below the bladder. The prostate surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). When problems occur in the prostate, the bladder and urethra are often affected as well. Urinary symptoms can result. The most common prostate problems are described below.
BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) develops when changing hormone levels cause the prostate to grow larger. This often begins around age 50. Excess tissue can block the urethra, making it harder for urine to flow. The enlarged prostate can also press on the bladder, so you may need to urinate more often. Other symptoms include straining during urination, a weak urine stream, and feeling that the bladder isn’t emptying all the way. Note that BPH is not cancer and does not cause cancer.
How BPH Affects the Bladder
Pushing to urinate through a narrowed urethra can cause the bladder walls to thicken or stretch out of shape. A stretched bladder may have problems emptying all the way. Infections or bladder stones can occur. Also, the kidneys can’t drain properly into a bladder that doesn’t empty completely. This can lead to kidney failure. Pressure from urine buildup can also cause leaking of urine (called overflow incontinence).
Other Prostate Problems