The prostate gland is located underneath the urinary bladder and is usually the size of walnut. A narrow "tube" passes through the prostate gland called the urethra. Urine and semen are both passed out of the male body through the urethra which is embedded in the prostate. The prostate gland can become enlarged for a variety of reasons such as infection, engorgement (with sperm from lack of sex or masturbation), normal aging, or by conditions such as cancer. It is vital for all men to know about their prostate, how it functions, and what it means if it becomes enlarged.
One of the first signs that the prostate may be enlarged is having to go to the bathroom (urinate or "pee") more than usual. Most men notice that their daily trips to men's room to urinate have suddenly increased. So simply put, urinary frequency is a major indication that the prostate may be enlarged.
You may also notice that you do not feel like you have completely emptied your bladder even though you are urinating more than usual. This is most likely caused by the enlarged prostate crimping the urethra (the anatomical tube that urine and semen flow through). It may be helpful to think of it as a "kink in the garden hose."
Other symptoms of a possible enlarged prostate is "painful" urination. You may notice that when you urinate there is increased bladder pressure or "burning" when voiding. Never ignore these symptoms since they may indicate a medical problem with your prostate or bladder.
One of the most worrisome signs that something may be going on in your prostate is when there is blood in a man's urine. (This is different for women. Women, because of the nature of their anatomy, frequently get bladder infections that can cause some blood in their urine, and it is not typically all that concerning. However, in men, because of THEIR anatomical differences, blood in the urine is not all that common and should always be medically evaluated.)
Enlarged prostates are a common male health problem and usually more annoying than concerning. However, it is important for all men to understand that they should not ignore any signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate with the "hope that they will go away." (This is good advice for any medical condition!)
As with any health or medical problem it is vital to consult your health care provider and not solely rely on information from the Internet or other sources. Talking one on one with your nurse practitioner or physician (and getting the appropriate exam and test) is invaluable to maintain good heath.