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Q
What causes an enlarged prostate?
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An enlarged prostate is a very common development as men age. In some cases, a large prostate can be associated with prostate cancer (why primary care physicians discuss cancer screening with older patients), but a condition called benign prostate hypertrophy is by far the most common reason for prostatic enlargement. As the name implies, BPH is not cancer and simply refers to the changes that are a very common part of the aging process. In addition to aging or cancer, chronic infection or inflammation can also lead to an enlarged prostate. Infection is something that can occur in younger men, but it is typically associated with symptoms (painful urination, more frequent urination, etc.). The symptoms of a large prostate include difficulty starting to urinate, increased frequency of urination, waking up at night to urinate, or a weak urinary stream. If you notice any symptoms like that, you should definitely bring them up with your physician. There are medications that can help shrink the prostate to help control symptoms. However, in the absence of symptoms, there is no reason for a young man to be screened for prostate concerns.

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