Prostate Basics—What you need to know about your prostate

Its primary function is to produce the fluids that make up 50-75% of your semen when you ejaculate. And when your prostate’s healthy, it’s about the size of a walnut.

Your urethra (the tube that transports both urine and semen through the penis) runs directly through the middle of your prostate. And, until about the age of 50, the prostate typically does its job without a problem.

But as you age, it can begin to enlarge and constrict your urethra causing some really challenging problems, including:

  • Urgent and frequent need to urinate
  • Waking up to urinate frequently during the night
  • Weak urinary stream
  • Dribbling after urination
  • Incomplete urination (inability to empty your bladder)
  • Weak sexual performance

Most doctors agree that a male chemical called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the major cause of an enlarged prostate. In fact, the few men who don’t produce DHT, don’t develop prostate issues.

But what exactly is DHT and how does it cause an enlarged prostate?

DHT starts with 5-alpha reductase. 5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that is secreted by your body starting around the age of 40—it converts testosterone into DHT—leading to a decrease in testosterone and an increase in DHT.

Most doctors think Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a major cause of an enlarged prostate.

Like testosterone, DHT is a male sex hormone. But unlike testosterone, which is a steroid hormone within the androgen group, DHT is synthesized by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme in the adrenal glands, hair follicles and prostate.

In youth, DHT has an important role in the formation of male external genitalia. But as we get older, it plays a more diabolical role in prostate enlargement as well as male pattern baldness. This becomes more critical as men grow older.

Although their level of testosterone decreases, the level of DHT increases.

This increasingly harmful imbalance is the primary cause of an enlarged prostate.