Prostate Health in Your 40s: What to Watch For

March 31,2024 |
prostate doctor

The prostate is a small gland in men located beneath the bladder and surrounding the urethra. It comprises both muscular and glandular tissue and contributes essential fluids to semen that aid in sperm transportation and viability. It's about the size of a walnut, but starting from age 25 or 30, it slowly enlarges. This is a completely normal and natural growth process, but the speed of growth can vary among men. In some, physiological enlargement can cause various symptoms, such as the compression of the urethra. Due to the change in size, men in their 40s and beyond should see their doctor regularly to detect issues early. This sets the stage for proactive monitoring and preventive measures to maintain optimal prostate health.

Common Prostate Issues

Men over 40 should know about some common prostate issues to recognize any symptoms that may indicate a problem. Some of the most common medical problems associated with the prostate in aging men:

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a.k.a. enlarged prostate, is one of the most common issues with the prostate gland in aging men. Although BPH is non-cancerous, many men will experience symptoms that can disrupt their daily lives. However, contrary to what some people think, BPH does not increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. Urinary problems caused by BPH can include things like:

  • Weak or slow urine stream
  • Trouble starting urination
  • Increased frequency
  • Increased urgency
  • Nocturia
  • Feeling like the bladder hasn't fully emptied
  • Inconsistent urine stream
  • Strain associated with urination

In some cases, BPH may also weaken the bladder, increase the risk of urinary tract infections, or even completely block the urethra. Even if you experience mild symptoms, seeing your doctor can help you find ways to manage prostate growth and decrease bothersome symptoms.


Men may also develop a condition called prostatitis. This can happen before or after age 40, which is why it's important to see your doctor if you experience any symptoms. Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland that can cause a variety of symptoms. Oftentimes, prostatitis occurs when bacteria enter the urethra—the tube that carries urine out of your body—and travel up toward the body. There are a few different types to be aware of:

  • Acute Bacterial Prostatitis — This occurs when the infection is sudden, and symptoms may include blood in the urine, fever, and chills that occur out of nowhere. It's important to see a doctor right away if you suspect this form of prostatitis. When diagnosed in men, PSA levels are usually elevated.
  • Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis — This infection has a slow onset, and the only symptoms tend to be bladder infections that continue to come back regardless of treatment. It can be caused by a defect in the prostate, but long-term, low-dose antibiotics can help you manage symptoms.
  • Chronic Prostatitis or Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome — This is the most common type of prostatitis but also the least understood. It triggers an immune response, but no bacteria is found in the prostate tissue. Your doctor will work with you to create a customized treatment plan.
  • Asymptomatic Inflammatory Prostatitis — This is a bacterial infection that occurs without any symptoms. It's often only found during blood tests or when you're screened for prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Although dying from prostate cancer is rare, it still requires treatment. Prostate cancer may affect men of any age, but the risk does increase with age. Early stages of prostate cancer may be asymptomatic, making regular screening through PSA tests and digital rectal exams essential for early detection. Symptoms of prostate cancer may manifest in advanced stages and include difficulty urinating, blood in the urine or semen, and pelvic pain. Luckily, when caught early, prostate cancer has a relatively high survival rate.

How to Care for Your Prostate as You Age

While experiencing prostate-related symptoms or problems can be uncomfortable and frustrating, there are several things you can do to boost your health and manage your condition. Regardless of age, talking to your doctor about the best course of action for your circumstances is important. Still, the following tips can help you

Be Aware of Prostate Conditions

Understanding prostate problems and being aware of their symptoms is the first step in proactive care. Although BPH, prostatitis, and prostate cancer are the most common issues, they're not the only things that can affect your prostate. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

See Your Doctor Regularly

With that being said, even if you don't experience active issues, getting prostate cancer screening tests regularly can help you detect prostate cancer at an early stage. Ideally, you should begin to get a digital rectal exam (DRE) every year after you turn 40. If you have a family history of prostate cancer or problems, your doctor may recommend you begin earlier. During this test, a gloved finger is inserted into the prostate to feel for any enlargement or abnormalities. Although it can sound a bit nerve-racking, the process is fast and integral to your overall health.

Consider Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing

Your doctor may also recommend undergoing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing if you experience certain symptoms. Although it might not be necessary if you don't have any prostate-related symptoms, those who have undergone prostate surgeries or a prostate biopsy in the past may benefit from repeated screenings to help stay proactive.

Understand Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

It's also recommended to learn more about prostate cancer in your family. If it's common among family members, your risk may be substantially higher. That doesn't necessarily mean that you're destined to start creating cancer cells, but it does give your doctor a better opportunity to create a more proactive surveillance plan.

Limit or Avoid Unhealthy Habits

Drinking alcohol in excess, smoking tobacco products, and using illegal drugs all have detrimental effects on your overall health. Each of these things can also cause issues with several areas of the prostate and urinary system. Try to limit alcohol consumption to one or two drinks per week and quit smoking and/or taking drugs altogether. If you need help, talk to your doctor about the available resources.

Get Plenty of Exercises

Staying active is a great way to maintain weight and improve overall health. This, in turn, can have positive effects on your prostate. Regular exercise may even help shrink the prostate or at least keep growth in check. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, and if you need help with what to do, consider working with a personal trainer to help develop some healthy habits.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced, prostate-friendly diet can play a significant role in promoting prostate health. Including a variety of nutrient-rich foods in your diet supports overall well-being and may also contribute to a lower risk of prostate issues, including prostate cancer. Some things to do include:

  • Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Loading up on cruciferous vegetables
  • Incorporating healthy fats
  • Eating fiber-rich foods
  • Reducing intake of red meat and dairy
  • Adding more tomatoes to your diet
  • Staying well hydrated
  • Limited processed foods and sugars

When to See a Doctor

As you get older, your list of doctors grows, and keeping track of your appointments can be a bit confusing. However, knowing when to see a doctor is important to help keep your overall health in good condition. As men, there are two instances when you should see a urologist about prostate-related issues: once per year or whenever you have symptoms. Changes in urinary patterns also warrant a trip to the urologist, so don't hesitate to call if anything seems off.

Treatments for Common Prostate Problems

Experiencing prostate problems doesn't always mean the worst, so try not to get too stressed until you've seen your doctor. Several prostate issues may be treated with antibiotics or lifestyle changes, but more severe issues may require surgery, hormone therapy, or radiation.

As you age, seeing your urologist yearly is essential to proactive prostate health. Byram Healthcare proudly offers full-service urologic care with high-quality urologic supplies to help you address any issues. Plus, when you order urologic supplies, your packages can be discreetly delivered to your home anytime.