BPH - Enlarged Prostate
BPH - Enlarged Prostate
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate may be…
Treatment is available when the symptoms an…
A man being evaluated for enlarged prostate…
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BPH - Enlarged Prostate
BPH is an enlarged prostate. The prostate goes through two main growth cycles during a man’s life. The first occurs early in puberty, when the prostate doubles in size. The second phase of growth starts around age 25 and goes on for most of the rest of a man’s life. BPH most often occurs during this second growth phase.
As the prostate enlarges, it presses against the urethra. The bladder wall becomes thicker. One day, the bladder may weaken and lose the ability to empty fully, leaving some urine in the bladder. Narrowing of the urethra and urinary retention – being unable to empty the bladder fully – cause many of the problems of BPH.
BPH is benign. This means it is not cancer. It does not cause or lead to cancer. However, BPH and cancer can happen at the same time.
BPH is common. About half of all men between ages 51 and 60 have BPH. Up to 90% of men over age 80 have it.
Testing and Treatment
A man’s feelings about his symptoms are a major factor in determining the most appropriate treatment. If the man is extremely unhappy with his symptoms, he may elect a more aggressive, immediate form of therapy. If he is only mildly bothered but still wishes to pursue treatment, he may elect to use medications. Take the BPH Symptom Quiz to help understand the severity of your symptoms.
To quantify the effect of urinary symptoms on a man’s quality of life, urologists use a symptom questionnaire developed by the American Urological Association. The higher the score on the questionnaire, the more likely the patient needs aggressive treatment.
Treatment is available when the symptoms an enlarged prostate are affecting your quality of life or are so severe that they put you at risk for serious complications like urinary tract infections or bladder or kidney damage.
- New! UroLift: Minimally invasive approach that lifts or holds the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way so it no longer blocks the urethra.
- New! Rezūm: Minimally invasive water-vapor therapy that shrinks the prostate without the need for medications or invasive surgery.
- Medications: There are two types of medications. Your doctor may prescribe one or both.
- Alpha Blockers relax the prostate muscles and bladder neck to improve urine flow. These medications start working almost immediately.
- 5-Alpha-Reductace Inhibitors block the hormone that causes your prostate to grow. They help relieve symptoms by shrinking your prostate over time.
- Nonsurgical Procedures: These include treatments that use heat to destroy extra prostate tissue. They shrink your prostate and help open up your urethra.
- Surgical Procedures: These treatments remove the enlarged part of your prostate to make it smaller. The most common surgery to treat surgery is called a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) in which the urologist removes the excess tissue surrounding your urethra with a traditional surgical instrument or a laser.
The symptoms of an enlarged prostate may be mild or come and go, and as a result, most men wait several months, even years, before seeing a doctor. In general, waiting to see a physician does not pose a problem.
- A weak urine stream
- Trouble starting the flow of urine
- Starting and stopping again when urinating
- Not emptying your bladder completely
- Urinating more often, especially at night
- Sudden urges to urinate
- Leaking or dribbling after you urinate
- Straining to urinate
A man being evaluated for enlarged prostate will also receive a rectal exam and a have his blood drawn to measure his body’s prostate specific antigen (PSA). These steps verify whether the symptoms are the result of an enlarged prostate or could be caused by a prostate infection or prostate cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no herbal supplement proven to improve symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Specifically saw palmetto, one of the more popular supplements used by men, has been shown to provide no benefit over a placebo.
Early on, enlarged prostate symptoms may come and go, so taking a “wait and see” approach to mild symptoms is reasonable. Over the long-term, however, symptoms tend to get gradually worse.
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