In this Article

What is Prostate Disease?

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men. The prostate is wrapped around the urethra and is an important part of a man’s reproductive organs. With age, the prostate may slowly increase in size. If the prostate gland gets too large, it can cause a number of health issues.

The most common types of prostate disease include:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP). BHP occurs when the prostate becomes enlarged. This condition is very common in older men.
  • Prostatitis. Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland that is often caused by a bacterial infection.
  • Prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is a malignant growth or tumor on the prostate gland. It is the most common form of cancer among men.

Most prostate problems and diseases are benign (non-cancerous) and can be treated with medication or surgery. In some cases, no treatment may be needed and your doctor will just keep an eye on you through routine exams.

If detected early, prostate cancer can be treated with medicine, hormone therapy, and surgery.

Things to Know

An estimated 3 million American men have some type of prostate disease. As men get older, they are more likely to have problems with their prostate gland. It is important you have a routine physical exam with your doctor. During this exam, your doctor will perform a digital rectal examination to check for signs of prostate disease. For this exam, your doctor gently inserts a gloved and lubricated finger through your anus into your rectum to feel for abnormalities in your prostate gland.

When to See a Doctor

In the early stages, there may be no symptoms of prostate disease. As the disease progresses, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty urinating (peeing)
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in the urine

If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to call your doctor. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. You may be referred to a specialist called a urologist [yoo-rol-uh-jist]. Urologists diagnose and treat diseases of the urinary and genital organs.

As men age, they may experience problems with their prostate gland. Symptoms can include pain and inflammation. Most prostate diseases are benign (non-cancerous) and can be treated. Learn more about common prostate diseases.