Image for Prostate conditions
Prostate conditions

Related Terms

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Background

  • The prostate is part of a man's reproductive (genitourinary) system and is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows.
  • A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut. Male hormones (androgens, particularly testosterone) normally produced by the body stimulate the growth of the prostate. The testicles are the main source of male hormones, including testosterone. The prostate changes size very little from birth until puberty, but at puberty it increases in weight and doubles in size. In general, the size of the prostate remains constant after puberty for the next 30 or more years. In some men, in fact, the prostate never again increases in size. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case for most men, who will develop some form of non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. Half of all men in their 50s and 80% of men in their 80s have some symptoms of BPH.
  • The prostate makes part of the seminal fluid. During ejaculation, seminal fluid helps carry sperm out of the man's body as part of semen. In the adult male, the glandular tissue of the prostate secretes a fluid that contributes 20-30% of the total volume of the seminal fluid released when a man ejaculates. This prostate fluid is continuously generated by the prostate but increases during sexual excitement. The combination of spermatozoa, seminal vesicle fluid, and prostatic fluid, in addition to a tiny amount of fluid from some minor glands, constitutes semen. The prostate gland fluid is a thin, milky substance that gives semen its characteristic color and odor.
  • Some common prostate problems include prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate, usually caused by bacterial infection), benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH (an enlarged prostate, which may cause dribbling after urination or a need to urinate often, especially at night), and prostate cancer (a common cancer that responds best to treatment when detected early).

Types and Causes of Prostate Conditions

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.