Prostate, enlarged

An increase in the size of the inner zone of the prostate gland, also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is most common in men over 50. The cause is unknown. The enlarging prostate compresses and distorts the urethra, impeding the flow of urine. Eventually the bladder is unable to expel all the urine (see urine retention) and becomes distended, causing abdominal swelling. There may also be incontinence and frequency of urination (see urination, frequent). Prostate enlargement is detected by a rectal examination. Tests may include a blood test, ultrasound scanning, urography, and a recording of the strength of urine flow. Mild cases do not require treatment, but more severe ones usually require prostatectomy. Alternatively, drug treatment with alpha-blocker drugs or androgen drugs may be given.


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