Conditions & Treatments

Prostate Disease

There are clinical conditions of the prostate gland that are not cancer, including the following: prostatism, prostatitis, prostatalgia, benign prostatic hyperplasia (Also called BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy.), impotence (Also called erectile dysfunction) and urinary incontinence).

Prostate Disease

Facts about the prostate gland

The prostate is a sex gland in men. It's about the size of a walnut, and surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra—the tube that carries urine from the bladder. It's partly muscular and partly glandular, with ducts opening into the prostatic portion of the urethra. It's made up of three lobes: a center lobe with one lobe on each side.

Illustration of the anatomy of the male reproductive tract
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The prostate gland secretes a slightly alkaline fluid that forms part of the seminal fluid, a fluid that carries sperm.

Types of noncancerous prostate problems

Most clinical conditions of the prostate are benign (noncancerous), including the following: 

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is an age-related enlargement of the prostate that isn't malignant. BPH is the most common noncancerous prostate problem, occurring in most men by the time they reach their 60s. Symptoms are slow, interrupted, or weak urinary stream; urgency with leaking or dribbling; and frequent urination, especially at night. Although it isn't cancer, BPH symptoms are often similar to those of prostate cancer.

  • Prostatism. This symptom of prostatism is decreased urinary force due to obstruction of flow through the prostate gland. The most common cause of prostatism is BPH.

  • Prostatitis. This is inflammation or infection of the prostate gland characterized by discomfort, pain, frequent or infrequent urination, and, sometimes, fever.

  • Prostatalgia (also called prostatodynia). This is pain in the prostate gland. It's frequently a symptom of prostatitis.

These problems are quite common and may happen to men of all ages. Prostatitis is mainly a problem of men younger than age 50, and BPH affects primarily men older than age 50.

Treatment Programs


Massachusetts General Hospital understands that a variety of factors influence patients' health care decisions. That's just one reason why we're dedicated to ensuring patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because a single option might not serve all patients, we offer a wide range of coordinated treatments and related services across the hospital. Patients should consult with their primary care doctor or other qualified health care provider for medical advice and diagnosis information.

Select a treatment program for more information:



Imaging

  • Cancer Imaging and Intervention
    The Cancer Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging combines leading-edge technology and the expertise of specialty-trained radiologists to provide comprehensive cancer detection and monitoring, plus image-guided treatments for specific types of cancer.
  • Adult Medicine Imaging
    The Adult Medicine Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers a wide range of diagnostic exams and minimally invasive, image-guided treatments, all provided using leading-edge equipment and interpreted by specialty-trained radiologists.
Department of Urology

  • Prostate Health Program
    Managing care for a high volume of patients every year, clinicians in the Prostate Health Program provide sophisticated detection, diagnosis and treatment of prostate disease, including prostate cancer and enlarged prostate (also known as BPH), and other related urinary problems.

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