What you need to know about your prostate

The prostate is part of the reproductive system in men and people who were described as male at birth. It sits inside the body, underneath the bladder and right in front of the rectum.

The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut. Its job is to help make semen by producing a thick, white fluid that gets mixed with sperm from the testicles.

Your prostate tends to grow as you get older. It can also change size or get swollen because of certain conditions like:

  • prostate enlargement

  • inflammation of the prostate, known as prostatitis

  • prostate cancer

These problems are common, especially in those over 50.

You cannot check your prostate yourself, but if you have any of the following symptoms you will need to talk to your GP.

  • needing to pee more often or suddenly

  • waking up in the night to pee

  • dribbling urine for a while after you’ve finished peeing

  • a weak flow of urine

  • difficulty starting or stopping peeing

  • straining to pee

  • feeling like you’re not emptying your bladder properly

Most commonly, these are signs of an enlarged prostate. This means it's swollen and is putting pressure on your urethra, affecting how you pee. This can be treated with medication or by making a few changes to your lifestyle.

They can also be symptoms of prostate cancer, a condition that affects 1 in 8 men in the UK. You have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer if you’re over 50, your parents or siblings have it or you’re Black. Prostate cancer is not always life-threatening, and catching it early means you have a better chance of curing it.

If you have any symptoms or would like to talk about your chance of getting prostate cancer, make an appointment to speak to your GP.


This is an inflammation and swelling of the prostate that can happen for a few different reasons. For example, it could be a sign of infection.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • pain or difficulty when you pee

  • pain when you ejaculate (come)

  • pain in the pelvis area, lower back and bottom

  • needing to pee often

  • pain in the area between the anus and testicles (the perineum) that gets worse when you sit for a long time

Prostatitis can be painful, but it is treatable with antibiotics, painkillers and other medications. So like the other symptoms we've talked about, it's best to contact your GP.

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 29 April 2024
Published on: 23 April 2024