The Prostate Gland

Your prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that lies immediately beneath your bladder surrounding the urethra, the tube inside the penis that carries urine out of your body. It secretes a fluid that becomes part of semen. The gland can easily become inflamed during an infection, causing soreness, swelling, frequent urination, and a burning sensation while urinating. The prostate gland also can become enlarged, a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is a common problem in older men. An enlarged prostate gland can cause a number of bothersome problems when urinating, including hesitancy or straining to urinate; a weak stream of urine; dribbling; retention of urine; or the inability to control urination, also called incontinence. Other common symptoms include frequent urination, feeling an urgent need to urinate, and excessive urination at night.

If you have any of the symptoms of prostate enlargement, you should not feel embarrassed about talking them over with your doctor. You don't need to change your lifestyle to avoid situations, such as going to the movies, when it might be difficult to go for long periods without urinating. Effective surgical and drug treatments exist to help alleviate your symptoms.

The most feared prostate problem is prostate cancer, which now affects one in five men during his lifetime and is a leading cause of cancer death in American men. With early diagnosis and treatment, however, prostate cancer is curable.

Because the prostate lies in front of the rectum, the doctor can feel the prostate by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. This is called a digital rectal examination. It allows the doctor to determine whether the prostate is enlarged or has lumps or other areas of abnormal texture that he or she can feel.


Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. There are three basic forms of prostatitis: bacterial prostatitis, nonbacterial prostatitis, and prostatodynia.

Bacterial prostatitis, also called infectious prostatitis, is divided into two types: acute and chronic. Acute bacterial prostatitis is a rare but serious disease caused by bacteria in the prostate gland. The bacteria may originate from an infection in another part of the body, such as infections in the sinuses or the ears, or from an infection in another part of the urinary tract. Chronic bacterial pro-statitis is a recurring prostate infection that usually results when acute bacterial prostatitis has not been treated successfully. It tends to occur in older men who have an enlarged prostate gland. Nonbacterial prostatitis, the most common form

Reproductive System

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