What is the prostate? it's normal size, When do you call that prostate is enlarged and its causes

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 

What is Prostate?

Before we get into the details, you must know what is prostate? It is a gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate word is taken from the Greek dictionary. It means “one who stands before”.

In simple words, it describes the location of the prostate gland that is located between the bladder and the pelvic floor. The rectum is present behind it.

The urethra (which helps in emptying the bladder from urine) passes through the centre of this gland. Additionally, the prostate gland produces fluid that nourishes sperm.

what is prostate

Table of Contents

Prostate Functions

Knowing what is prostate function, will help you understand it better. It is a crucial organ in the male reproductive system. It supports the maintenance and health of sperm.

Besides, this fluid also feeds and nourishes the sperm. These functions are important steps to conceive. Thus the prostate gland helps enhance sperm motility. And we can say that it has a vital role in male fertility. Although to make semen, this prostate fluid gets combined with sperm cells from testicles and fluid from other glands like the bulbourethral glands. It is a small gland present behind the prostate. Besides this, prostate muscles also help semen to expel outward through the urethra for ejaculation. Now you have an idea of what is the prostate, let’s discuss its size.

What is the Normal Size of Prostate?

It weighs around thirty grams. The normal size of the prostate is similar to the size of a walnut. However, when this gland grows big it is called enlarged prostate. It can grow three times its normal size. Although the size of prostate enlargement varies in each person.

Let’s discuss it in detail to make it more understandable.

What is Prostate Enlargement?

When the prostate gland grows big it is called an enlarged prostate. Although it can happen to any man. Mostly it occurs as men age. It is also known by the name benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Additionally, it does not cause prostate cancer.

What is the Main Cause of Prostate Enlargement?

The main cause of prostate enlargement is not found. However, age, testosterone levels, and changes in the cells of the testicles are likely to be contributing factors in the growth of the prostate gland.

Additionally, some men do not get affected by this condition. For example, the men who had testicular cancer at a young age.

Because of this condition, they have to remove testicles. Thus the prostate starts shrinking in size and they do not get an enlarged prostate.

However, this is not the standard treatment to cure this condition.

1) Some facts about enlarged prostate:

2) Enlarged Prostate: A Normal Part of Aging

The prostate starts to grow at the age of 25. Also, it is not clear why the prostate gets enlarged with age. However, according to research, men who have enlarged prostate around age 50 start to experience uncomfortable symptoms.

For example,

They have to go to the bathroom more often than usual, especially at night. However, they can not empty the bladder easily even after a strong urge to pee. Because the enlargement of the prostate.

The Urethra tube helps in emptying the urine from the bladder and carries it out through the penis. And the prostate gland surrounds this tube.

If it gets worse such as being unable to pee at all, that’s a medical emergency.

3) Some other typical symptoms of an enlarged prostate are:

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you face the following symptoms, then it’s a medical emergency. You should immediately seek medical advice in that case.

Here are less frequent signs that you may experience,

How to Diagnose Enlarged Prostate?

Your doctor may ask for different tests to diagnose an enlarged prostate according to the severity of symptoms. These tests include,

(i) Urine Test

This test is usually helpful in the diagnosis of other conditions that cause similar symptoms to BPH. Your urine will be checked in a lab to identify other illnesses.

(ii) Blood Test

Blood tests are also helpful in the diagnosis of other medical conditions such as kidney problems that cause similar symptoms to BPH.

(iii) Digital Rectal Exam

In this test, to check your enlarged prostate a provider will insert a finger into your rectum.

(iv) Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test

This blood test detects the level of protein in the prostate. Which gets higher if you have BPH.

(v) Urinary Flow Test

This test is used to check the flow and amount of urine you pass. It is done through a machine. You have to pee in a container attached to that machine. This test can detect whether you are recovering from an enlarged prostate or not.

(vi) Voiding Diary

This test checks how much and how often you pee.

(vii) Transrectal Ultrasound

It is a device that will be inserted into the rectum. This device makes images from inside the rectum that detect the prostate.

(viii) Urodynamic (pressure flow) Study

This test is used to check the bladder pressure and work of bladder muscles. It is done through a catheter. This tube will be inserted into the bladder through the urethra.

(ix) Cystoscopy

It is a flexible tool that can help see the urethra and bladder from the inside. It will be inserted into your urethra.

This test might be painful. So you will be given medicine so that you can’t feel pain.

What are the Treatments for Enlarged Prostate?

The treatment for this condition would be based on the severity of symptoms. For mild symptoms self-care is sufficient. However, medications or surgery may be needed for severe symptoms.

Let’s discuss all treatment options.


It is the type of treatment that will help treat an enlarged prostate if you have mild symptoms.


(i) Alpha-1 Blockers

These medicines are usually helpful in treating high blood pressure. However, they can also relax the bladder and prostate muscles. It will further help in easy urination. Most of the men have improved their symptoms with the help of these medicines. They notice improvement within 3-7 days after taking these blockers.

(ii) Finasteride and Dutasteride

These medicines help lower hormone levels produced by the prostate. Besides these may also decrease the signs of an enlarged prostate, reduce the size of the prostate gland, and increase the urine flow rate. You might need to take these drugs for three to six months.

(iii) Antibiotics

It is helpful for severe symptoms, such as inflammation of the prostate which may also arise due to an enlarged prostate. After a course of antibiotics, this condition has improved in some men.

However, you must keep in mind the side effects of each medicine.


This treatment depends upon the severity of the condition. Treatment may vary according to the age of men. Because every man has a different shape and size of the prostate gland. Also, different treatment options are available to cure enlarged prostate.

Such as,

(i) Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP):

It is the most typical and successful treatment option for an enlarged prostate. In this process, a surgeon will insert a scope through the penis and remove the grown prostate piece by piece.

(ii) Simple Prostatectomy

This treatment is also helpful in treating this condition. In this process, a surgeon will remove the inside part of the prostate gland. It will be done through the cut in your belly. Usually, this method applies to men who have large prostate glands.

Other methods such as laser or heat can also treat this condition. These methods leave the prostate open without destroying the tissues. But it will work only for a few years. Thus may need surgery again in five or ten years to treat an enlarged prostate.

However, these treatments can be helpful for people who have other medical diseases such as cirrhosis, diabetes, kidney, or heart disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland found in men, situated just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder and semen from the reproductive system out of the body.

The prostate, also referred to as the prostate gland, is unique to males. Women do not have a prostate gland. It is a male-specific organ that serves functions related to the male reproductive system.

The prostate, or prostate gland, is a vital part of the male reproductive system. What is prostate does is that it produces a fluid that combines with sperm and other fluids to create semen. This fluid nourishes and protects sperm, helping them function effectively. Additionally, the prostate has muscles that help in propelling semen during ejaculation.