Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia facts
- What is the prostate gland?
- How does the doctor detect prostate enlargement?
- What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?
- When does benign prostatic hyperplasia start?
- What happens in BPH? What are symptoms of BPH?
- How common is BPH? Are there any risk factors?
- Is BPH a type of cancer?
- Is BPH always treated?
- How is BPH treated?
- Are there other non-cancerous prostate problems?
- Can prostate problems be prevented?
- Enlarged Prostate (BPH) FAQs
- Find a local Urologist in your town
Is BPH always treated?
No. Treatment of BPH is usually reserved for men with significant symptoms. Watchful waiting with medical monitoring once a year is appropriate for most men with BPH.
How is BPH treated?
There are several different ways to treat BPH:
Men should carefully weigh the risks and benefits of each of these options. Prostate surgery has traditionally been seen as offering the most benefits for BPH but unfortunately carries the most risks.
- Watchful waiting is often chosen by men who are not bothered by symptoms of BPH. They have no treatment but get regular checkups and wait to see whether or not the condition gets worse.
- Medical treatment of BPH is usually reserved for men who have significant symptoms. The available drugs include
- alpha blockers relax the smooth muscles of the prostate, and the bladder neck, which helps to relieve urinary obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate in BPH. Side effects can include headaches, fatigue, problems ejaculating, or lightheadedness. Commonly used alpha blockers in BPH include tamsulosin (Flomax), alfuzosin (Uroxatral), and older medications such as terazosin (Hytrin), slidosin (Rapaflo) or doxazosin (Cardura). These drugs generally will lead to improvement in symptoms within several weeks and have no effect on prostate size; and
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors block the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into its active form in the prostate (DHT). The prostate enlargement in BPH is directly dependent on DHT, so these drugs lead to an approximate 25% reduction in prostate size over six to 12 months. For this reason, improvement in urinary symptoms most commonly takes this long to occur. Examples of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors include Finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart). Side effects of finasteride may include declining interest in sex, problems getting an erection, and problems with ejaculation.
- Surgery or office procedures may also be used to treat BPH, most commonly in men who have not responded satisfactorily to medication or those who have more severe problems, such as a complete inability to urinate.
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) has been used for the longest period of time. After the patient is given anesthesia, the doctor inserts a special instrument into the urethra through the penis. With the instrument, the doctor then shaves away part of the inner prostate to relieve the outflow of urine from the bladder.
- Laser procedures: A number of laser procedures are available, some of which can be performed in the doctor's office with minimal anesthesia. These procedures also involve the removal of obstructing prostate tissue. They are generally associated with less bleeding and quicker recovery than TURP.
- Microwave therapy: This procedure is generally performed in the office and involves the use of microwave energy delivered to the prostate to kill some of the cells leading eventually to shrinkage of the prostate.
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