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prostate enlargement

As people get older they're increasingly prone to an endless list of aches and pains that only seem to get worse as the years roll by - no one likes it, but that's life.

Whether that's dodgy knees, ankles that click every time you stand up or a back that creaks like oak flooring, these are afflictions that many people experience.

While such problems aren't an overbearing issue, they can be troublesome and - at times - result in a substantial amount of discomfort.

One part of the ageing process that affects men is that of prostate enlargement - something that isn't always noticeable, but in extreme cases can be fatal if mutations in the gland aren't detected early enough.

But given that few men know exactly what this condition entails and that some may become unnecessarily concerned if they hear that their prostate has started to swell, here we're going to take a look at what it could mean for your health.

Does an enlarged prostate lead to cancer?

The simple answer here is no - prostate enlargement is common among men over the age of 50, but for two-thirds of people this will not cause any problems at all.

Indeed, while prostate cancer may be the most prevalent form of the disease among men, simply having an enlarged prostate doesn't mean that you're going to develop cancer.

What are the symptoms of prostate enlargement?

The prostate gland is located below the bladder, meaning it is particularly close to the parts of the body that control when a man urinates.

If the gland starts to swell, it can push on the tube which carries urine away from the bladder - something that can result in a man needing to use the toilet more frequently, as well as causing him difficulty when it comes to starting to urinate.

In some men these symptoms are mild and will not need any treatment, but others may need to make lifestyle changes - such as cutting out caffeine - or take medication to bring the swelling down.

What is prostatitis?

It's important to realise that prostatitis doesn't mean prostate cancer, as this condition refers to an inflammation or infection in the gland.

Most men who have the complaint will experience pain when urinating or ejaculating semen, but these symptoms tend to come and go - especially if there is no bacterial infection affecting the prostate.

However, those who do have an infection may need a course of antibiotics to address the issue, and in rare cases of acute prostatitis, immediate medical attention is needed to prevent nearby areas becoming damaged by bacteria that are attacking the gland.

How does the cancer emerge?

It is not known why prostate cancer develops, but when a single cell in the gland starts to multiply out of control there is a risk that the disease will emerge.

It's important to note that this is a slow-growing cancer and may not immediately require treatment, but if you experience trouble urinating then it's advised you see a doctor who will be able to diagnose the nature of your problem.