The gland in the male body that is essential for fertility but not for erections, and just happens to enlarge, rather than shrink, with age, is the prostate. It is a small gland resembling the shape and size of a walnut in men that helps in making some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperms from one’s testicles when one ejaculates.
Located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, it wraps around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. It tends to grow larger as one gets older. It’s a normal part of aging for most men.
By age 40, one’s prostate might have gone from the size of a walnut to the size of an apricot and by age 60, it might be the size of a lemon. In terms of weight, it may grow from 20 grams to almost 100 grams.
If the prostate gets too large, it can cause a number of health issues. Because it surrounds part of the urethra, the enlarged prostate can squeeze that tube, which causes problems when one urinates. Typically, these problems are not visible until age 50 but these can start earlier.
Frequent urge to urinate, need to get up many times during the night to urinate, blood in urine or semen, pain or burning urination, painful ejaculation, frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs and dribbling of urine are the most common symptoms of Benign prostatic hyperplasia. Prostate cancer is common among American men.