Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that affects many men as they age. It refers to the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland, which can cause urinary symptoms such as a weak stream, frequent trips to the bathroom, and difficulty starting and stopping urination.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you are not alone. It is estimated that more than 50% of men over the age of 60 have BPH. The good news is that many BPH treatment options are available to help manage the symptoms of BPH.
Treatment Options for BPH
1. Watchful Waiting
Watchful waiting, also known as active surveillance, is a good option for men with mild symptoms or those not ready for treatment. This approach involves monitoring your signs over time and changing your lifestyle, such as reducing your fluid intake before bedtime, to help manage your symptoms. If your symptoms worsen or interfere with your daily life, your doctor may recommend more aggressive treatment.
There are several medications available to help manage the symptoms of BPH. Alpha-blockers, such as tamsulosin (Flomax) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral), relax the prostate and bladder neck muscles, making urinating easier. 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, such as finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), shrink the size of the prostate, reducing the pressure on the urethra and improving urinary symptoms.
These medications can be taken orally and usually take several weeks to become effective. It is important to note that these medications do not cure BPH, and you may need to take them for the rest of your life.
3. Minimally Invasive Procedures
Minimally invasive treatments for BPH are often helpful for men who don’t get enough relief from medications or who cannot tolerate medications. Available procedures include:
- Rezum Water Vapor Therapy: Steam is directed to the enlarged prostate tissue, which damages and shrinks it.
- Aquablation Therapy: A high-pressure water jet removes excess prostate tissue. A map of the prostate is made before treatment, allowing for higher precision.
- UroLift: A small device is implanted to lift the enlarged prostate tissue up and away from the urethra to relieve urinary symptoms.
- GreenLight Laser Therapy: A laser beam is used to eliminate prostate tissue that is pressing on the urethra.
- iTind: A small device is temporarily placed in the prostate, slowly opening and reshaping the urethra. The device is removed in 5-7 days.
Each of these minimally invasive procedures for BPH has the advantage of improving symptoms with few side effects and a quick recovery time. They are better at preserving sexual function than surgical procedures. Your urologist will help you decide which procedure makes sense for your particular case.
Surgery may be an option for men with severe symptoms that cannot be managed with medications or minimally invasive procedures.
The two least invasive surgery options are transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT), which are good options for men with moderate to severe symptoms. TURP involves removing a portion of the prostate gland through the urethra, while TUMT uses heat to shrink the prostate tissue.
These procedures are performed under anesthesia and do not require an incision, making them less invasive than traditional surgery, though more intrusive than the above minimally invasive procedures. Most men experience improvement in their urinary symptoms within a few days of the procedure, but it may take several weeks to recover fully.
In some cases, a total prostatectomy may need to be performed. This procedure involves making an incision in the abdomen or the perineum and removing the enlarged portion of the prostate gland.
This surgery requires a longer recovery time but is more effective in improving urinary symptoms. Your doctor will help you determine if surgery is best for you based on your symptoms’ severity and overall health.
The Best BPH Treatment for You
Choosing the best treatment option for BPH depends on several factors, including the severity of your symptoms, overall health, and personal preferences. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best option for you, considering your medical history, lifestyle, and treatment goals.
Don’t delay finding the right BPH treatment for you — schedule an appointment today by calling 843-347-2450!