For aging men, prostate enlargement is almost as common as graying hair, and yet scientists know very little about why the prostate increases in size or how the process occurs on a molecular level.
In a new study, scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a molecular pattern that flags prostate enlargement, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia, and have even identified two genes that likely play a role in the development of the condition.
The urethra runs directly through the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. And while a bigger prostate is not typically life-threatening in itself, it can cause urinary-related symptoms that range from niggling to severe. When the prostate becomes enlarged, it squeezes the urinary tube, causing problems such as incontinence or urinary urgency.
It can be a terrible bother and, in the most severe cases, can even lead to kidney failure. Today's treatments work to an extent, but don't completely solve the issues. Urology as a field needs to do more to own this problem and figure out what the true underlying causes are so we can curb its prevalence and help treat it more effectively."
James Brooks, MD, professor of urology
The new study is one ...