Your prostate gland -- found at the base of your bladder -- is normally the size of a walnut. It can become larger with age, causing uncomfortable urinary symptoms such as the sensation of being unable to completely empty your bladder. Better Health Channel advises seeing your doctor if urinary symptoms are troublesome. If you notice blood in your urine, have painful urination, are unable to urinate or experience uncontrollable flow, the website recommends seeing your doctor right away.
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Prostate Gland Weight
Better Health Channel states that the average weight of a prostate gland is 20 g, approximately .7 of an ounce. According to Duke University Medical Center, prostate gland size can increase not only with age but with body mass index, or BMI, as well. In a study conducted by Stephen Freedland and colleagues and published in the February 2006 issue of "The Journal of Urology," mildly obese men were found to have prostatic weights of 40 g -- roughly double its normal size. However, morbidly obese men had prostates smaller than those of the mildly obese men, a result that researchers concluded was due to lower serum testosterone levels.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland -- called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH -- can constrict or block your urethra and cause urinary symptoms. These include more frequent urination, increased urination at night, increased urgency, weak urine stream and dribbling after urination. Urology Channel notes that men with BPH produce larger amounts of a protein called prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, than men with normal prostates. According to MayoClinic.com, elevated PSA can indicate prostate cancer, but does not necessarily mean that you have it. If your PSA level is elevated, your doctor may recommend a biopsy.
Methods of Determining Prostatic Weight
According to Urology Channel, your doctor may use a variety of methods, including digital rectal examination, to assess prostate weight and determine if it is enlarged. With DRE, the doctor evaluates the shape, size and consistency of the prostate gland by palpating it. Ideally, the prostate should feel soft; malignant tissue is firm, hard and may be asymmetrical. Laboratory tests, including blood tests and ultrasound are also used to check for BPH.
Effectiveness of Prostate Gland Measuring Techniques
There is some scientific evidence suggesting that some means of assessing prostatic weight are more accurate than others. In a study performed by Stacy Loeb and colleagues and published in the January 2005 issue of "The Journal of Urology," researchers evaluated the efficacy of both digital rectal examination and transrectal ultrasonography -- two commonly used methods of estimating prostatic weight -- in 36,000 men. Results were checked against 2,283 men who underwent radical retropubic prostatectomy. Researchers found that TRUS estimates were more accurate than those obtained by DRE, although the former tended to underestimate prostatic weight.
- Urology Channel: BPH Diagnosis--Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or Enlarged Prostate
- Better Health Channel: Prostate Gland and Urinary Problems
- Journal of Urology: Accuracy Of Prostate Weight Estimation By Digital Rectal Examination Versus Transrectal Ultrasonography
- MayoClinic.com: Prostate Cancer Screening
- Duke University Medical Center: Obesity May make Diagnosing Prostate Cancer Harder