anonymous on September 1, 2011

Does masturbation lead to an enlarged prostate?

Could masturbation lead to having a bigger prostate? In other words, could it make the urine canal narrow so the urine doesn't go out normally?

answered by David Sobel, MD, JD on September 1, 2011

Thanks for bringing your questions to us. It sounds like you may be asking a question about your own signs of enlarged prostate…if so, I would encourage you to visit your doctor or urologist for a full examination and treatment, if necessary. That said, I’m happy to offer you some thoughts for your consideration.

First, there’s no known link between prostate enlargement and masturbation. While ejaculation – whether from masturbation or intercourse – involves the prostate gland, having sex and/or masturbating isn’t known to contribute to prostate enlargement.

What is the prostate, anyway? The prostate is an organ found only in men.It creates the cloudy fluid that mixes with sperm to create semen. The prostate sits under the bladder in a man’s lower abdominal region.

A typical prostate is about the size of a walnut and, similar to a walnut, is made of two halves. These two halves reside on either side of the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of the body. So if the prostate becomes enlarged, men may have a hard time urinating normally.

Prostate enlargement, sometimes calledbenign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is often simply a symptom of aging. Doctors and researchers continue to learn more about what causes enlarged prostates, but current thinking is that the prostate might just keep growing as a man ages. Eventually, the prostate might grow so large that it presses on the urethra, causing urinary difficulties.

If you have BPH, your doctor can determine the proper treatment which, depending on the severity of the prostate enlargement, may include lifestyle changes to manage the problem and delay the need for medications. Or, if the prostate is large and causing significant problems, your doctor might suggest surgery.

What should you do if you have trouble urinating? If you can’t urinate normally, it could be a symptom of BPH…but it could also be a symptom of several other conditions, all of which can be properly evaluated, diagnosed and treated by a doctor or urologist. Some other conditions that may cause abnormal urination include prostate or bladder cancer, a narrowing of the urethra (or, aurethral stricture), or a bladder infection, among others.

Thanks again for sharing your concerns, and rest assured that masturbation isn’t their cause. I wish you good luck and good health in addressing whatever discomfort you may be experiencing.

Related info:

David Sobel, MD, JD

Dr. Sobel is a Colorado-based urologist and Director of the Denver Center for Men’s Health. His areas of expertise include men's sexual health and all areas of urology, including urologic oncology, treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, stone disease and incontinence. Dr. Sobel was educated at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and completed his residency at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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