Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common disease affecting the prostate. This condition affects the majority of men at some time during their lives. Even men in their twenties start to develop microscopic evidence of BPH. However, men older than 50 years are more likely to experience these symptoms.
As the prostate enlarges and encroaches on the urethra, a multitude of symptoms may develop. Obstructive symptoms such as difficulty starting urinary flow, double-voiding, weak stream, dribbling, and a sensation of incomplete emptying may occur. Irritative symptoms may also occur, which include frequency, urgency, and getting up at night to urinate. A thorough history and physical exam are important in diagnosing BPH. A prostate specific antigen (PSA), and possibly a urine flow and assessment of residual urine with a bladder ultrasound, may be necessary to assess the severity of the symptoms. An American Urologic Association assessment questionnaire will help quantify the degree of voiding difficulty.
BPH treatment options include medication for some men, while others with severe symptoms and inability to urinate (urinary retention) often require a minimally invasive or surgical procedure to allow the urine to flow better through the prostate. Some procedures are performed on an outpatient basis while others require up to two days in the hospital.
Treatment options include:
Medications are a good treatment option for many men with BPH. A few of the more common types of medications include alpha blockers which relax the muscles of the prostate and bladder neck, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors which blocks a male hormone involved in prostate development and growth, or a combination of both medications. Learn more about medications for BPH.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
There are a number of minimally invasive procedure available to treat BPH. These include using radio waves, microwaves, and small electrical currents to destroy enlarged prostate tissue. Stents can also be placed in the narrowed area of the urethra caused by the enlarged prostate to keep the urethra open for urine flow. Learn more about minimally invasive treatments for BPH.
The UroLift® System is a straightforward treatment for BPH that utilizes tiny implants to lift and hold the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way so it no longer blocks the urethra. There is no cutting, heating or removal of prostate tissue. Learn more about the UroLift® System.
There are three main types of prostate surgery used to alleviate severe symptoms from BPH - using a resectoscope fed through a catheter to remove tiny pieces of prostate tissue, using a laser beam to disintegrate prostate tissue, and using an electric current or laser beam to widen the urethra to enable better urine flow. Learn more about surgical treatments for BPH.