What is the prostate?
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. Its secretions help nourish the sperm and aid fertility.
About the size and shape of a walnut, it is sited below your bladder and above the base of your penis, between your pubic bone and your rectum. It encircles the urethra (the tube through which urine passes from the bladder).
- In newborn boys the prostate is about the size of a pea. It grows very slowly until puberty.
- Then it doubles in size in a dramatic growth spurt.
- When a man reaches his 40s it begins to increase in size again.
- Various hormones control its growth and function. The most important is the male sex hormone, testosterone.
The most common sign of a prostate problem is difficulty in passing urine. Changes in the prostate narrow the urethra, the tube which carries urine from the bladder.
You might experience:
- a weak flow
- intermittency — a flow which stops and starts
- hesitancy — having to wait before you start to go
- frequency — having to urinate more often than previously
- urgency — finding it difficult to postpone urination
- nocturia — having to get up at night to urinate
- For more on malehealth follow the links on the right or the drop down menus under Physical Health > Prostate. The other sections of this site include:
- Prostate and Sex
- Tests and Screening
- Living with Prostate Problems
- Prostate Cancer
- Other prostate problems
- Prostate research
- More on prostate health from the NHS
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Page created on January 15th, 2010
Page updated on January 27th, 2011