Prostate problems, especially benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a problem shared by all men who have entered middle age. It seems inevitable that the prostate enlarges with age. By age 85 just about every male has some prostate growth and experiences urinary difficulties because the urethra is constricted. This may lead to urinary complications, perhaps infections involving the kidneys, sexual dysfunction, or tissue changes which may be precursors of prostate cancer.
The prostate is a doughnut-shaped, chestnut-sized gland located at the base of the bladder in males. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows from the bladder. Because the urethra passes through the prostate gland, the healthy state of the prostate is vital to proper bladder control and urine flow-rate control. It is also essential for normal sexual function. It is the gland of ejaculation, supplying 95% of the seminal fluid, plus the power to expel it through the urethra and out of the penis. The normal prostate in an adult man is about the size of a walnut. It is located immediately behind the rectal wall, and feels like a dome in the forward wall just above the anal sphincter. Its size often increases over time, however, particularly once a man gets beyond age 40. Because the urethra runs right through the middle of it, a growth spurt of the prostate will squeeze the urethra and begin to choke off the urinary flow. This affects the ability to urinate and perform sexually.
50 percent of men in their 50's, and 70 percent of men in their 60's, have some degree of prostate enlargement. Other research has shown that, even by the age of 30, up to 25% of men have some prostate cancer cells present. In the USA, more than two million men will experience prostate disease, like BPH or prostatitis.