There are three main causes of prostate swelling: prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and prostate cancer. Prostatitis, the most common among the three, has its own set of probable causes, including bacterial infections, disorders of the immune or nervous systems, and direct injury to the prostate. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, on the other hand, is believed to be caused by an overproduction of male hormones, particularly testosterone. Prostate cancer begins when cancer cells develop and reproduce at a rapid pace. Treatment for prostate swelling depends largely on the cause.
Among patients with prostate swelling, prostatitis is identified in a majority of cases. This generally occurs when urine leaks from the bladder into the prostate, carrying with it harmful bacteria. The body's immune system reacts to the infection and causes the gland to swell. Treatment for bacterial prostatitis usually involves antibiotic medication. If the infection isn't completely eliminated over the course of treatment, there is a chance that the bacteria will reproduce, resulting in chronic bacterial prostatitis.
Prostatitis can also be symptomatic of immune or nervous system disorders. The body can mistake stimuli in and around the prostate as a potential risk, reacting to them in a fashion similar to bacterial prostatitis. In some cases, the prostate can swell as a result of physical trauma. Direct blows, accidental or otherwise, to the groin can impact the gland, resulting in a swollen prostate.
Another common cause of prostate swelling, benign prostatic hyperplasia, is often the result of natural causes. The prostate gland experiences two stages of significant growth: puberty and middle age. These periods are marked by an increase in the individual's testosterone levels. Many men, however, do not experience excessive prostate swelling during middle age. Experts theorize that benign prostatic hyperplasia is a result of the prostate gland developing a sensitivity to testosterone, increasing the hormone's effects on the gland's growth; as such, treatment often involves lowering the amount of prostate-specific antigens in the system.
Prostate cancer, on the other hand, has no clear causes prior to the development of cancer cells; exposure to carcinogenic substances like tobacco smoke, however, increases the risk of these cells developing. If cancer cells are left untreated, their genetic makeup might mutate, shifting the growths from benign to malignant. Once the cancer becomes malignant, prostate swelling will occur at an alarming pace, causing intense discomfort and difficulty for the patient. Various treatment options for prostate cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and removal of the prostate gland.