BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) is very common in men over forty. In fact, nearly all men will experience an enlarged prostate at some point in their later years. Some men will experience symptoms and some won’t. The symptoms of BPH include frequent urination, difficulty urinating, and feeling like you need to urinate and absolutely can’t postpone it.
Once you get diagnosed with BPH, what are your treatment options?
Active surveillance is a treatment option for men who have minor symptoms of BPH. It could also be for men who aren’t bothered by their symptoms or who aren’t experiencing any symptoms. Active surveillance involves getting a checkup with your urologist at least once a year to ensure your prostate is healthy and the enlargement hasn’t changed. You’ll need to be monitored by your physician in addition to paying attention to your symptoms. This type of treatment could also involve changing your diet and medications in order to help relieve your symptoms of BPH.
Alpha blockers are a popular medication for BPH because they relax the muscles of your urinary tract to help your urine flow improve. This may relieve many of the symptoms you’re experiencing such as difficulty urinating or frequent urination. While this medication may help with the symptoms of BPH, it doesn’t actually help with the enlargement of the prostate. Discuss this option with your doctor.
5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors
These medications unfortunately will need to be used indefinitely in order to experience relief from BPH and its symptoms. These medications can actually help decrease the enlargement of your prostate as well as help with any symptoms you’re experiencing. They can also help reduce any complications you might experience as a result of having BPH. Your doctor may also discuss with you the possibility of using this medication with the alpha blockers or along with another form of therapy for your BPH.
Natural Remedies (Phytotherapies)
Natural remedies have become very popular treatments for different ailments. Many of them don’t have the same side effects as conventional medications do. You’ll need to work with a doctor who’s experienced in phytotherapies. They may suggest altering your diet, exercising, and taking different supplements. For instance, people with BPH have seen good results with saw palmetto, a plant-based supplement that can ease your BPH symptoms and help with other ailments of your prostate such as prostate cancer or prostate infection.
Transurethral Needle Ablation
Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) is an outpatient procedure that involves killing tissue inside the prostate in order to reduce the size of the prostate. This treatment is generally not considered to work long-term, but may be ideal for patients who are looking for short-term relief. Although this option is minimally invasive, you’ll want to discuss all treatment options with your doctor before damaging any prostate tissue with this procedure.
Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy
This treatment, just as with transurethral needle ablation, causes injury to the prostate. It can also help if you’re experiencing symptoms such as difficulty urinating or not being able to urinate at all. This may be more ideal for long-term treatment although the side effects should be considered. As with any treatment, discuss in depth with your doctor.
Surgery is generally reserved for more severe cases of BPH, or those that are long-term with severe symptoms. Generally other treatments are attempted in combinations before surgery is considered by the doctor and the patient. Some surgical procedures you may consider with your doctor are transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), an open prostatectomy, holmium laser resection of the prostate, and transurethral incision of the prostate.
The diagnosis of BPH along with the severity of your symptoms will be considered when it comes to your unique treatment. If you have an especially enlarged prostate, you may require more aggressive treatment to alleviate your symptoms. Discuss these treatments with your doctor whether you decide to use them alone or in combination with each other.