Enlarged prostate

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:47 pm
The prostate gland is a male sex organ located below the bladder and around the urethra [yur-E-thra]. During sexual activity, it produces a fluid that combines with sperm to form semen. In men over age 50, the prostate gland often becomes enlarged. This can cause blockage of the urethra, which is the tube urine flows through from the bladder to the penis. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate usually begin with difficulty in urination, a frequent urge to urinate, especially at night, and dripping after urination. It may progress to the point where you may not be able to fully eliminate your bladder. If the urine isn't released, kidney damage may result. To avoid these complications, males should begin having the prostate checked annually after age 45. Your doctor can perform a rectal examination to check for changes in the prostate and may measure how much urine is left in the bladder following urination. The doctor determines this by injecting a harmless dye into a vein. The dye will outline the bladder, making it visible on an X-ray. Your doctor may prescribe medication to shrink the enlargement and relieve the discomfort. If symptoms become severe, surgery may be necessary. Various options are available, but the most common procedure is transurethral [trans-your-E-thrul] resection of the prostate in which the core of the prostate is removed. If you are experiencing a weak stream of urine and a frequent urge to urinate, you should schedule an appointment with a urologist. If you feel bloated and have an intense need to urinate and can't do so, you may need to go to the emergency room immediately. For more information on prostate enlargement, please contact a healthcare provider.
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