Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition among men, and it is characterized by the prostate gland becoming enlarged.
When the prostate gland enlarges, it can cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms, so it is ideal to seek out effective treatments as soon as symptoms become noticeable. The first step is knowing what these symptoms are so that patients and their doctors can work together the determine the right regimen.
To determine which treatment option might be best for a patient, it is important to review their medical history and conduct a full examination of their prostate health.
In some cases, more than one treatment option might be warranted to offer optimal control of this condition and its symptoms.
For mild to moderate symptoms, it is common to opt for medication first. Alpha blockers are a popular choice. They work to relax the prostate’s muscle fibers, as well as the neck muscles of the bladder. This can make it easier for the patient to urinate. When the prostate enlargement is still relatively small, these have the potential to work quickly. Dizziness is a potential side effect. Another possible side effect men should know about is referred to as retrograde ejaculation which is characterized by semen moving back into the bladder instead of flowing to the tip of the penis.
5-alpha reductase inhibitors are prescribed to aid in shrinking the prostate. They do this by preventing certain hormonal changes that contribute to the growth of the prostate. Patients may not see results with this medication for up to six months. Retrograde ejaculation is potential side effect.
In some cases, patients benefit from taking each of these drugs simultaneously. This is generally considered if one fails to produce results alone.
Surgical methods are generally considered when a patient’s symptoms are moderate to severe. There are four primary types to explore:
Transurethral incision of the prostate allows urine to get through the urethra easier by making up to two small cuts into the gland.
Transurethral needle ablation uses needles to send radio waves to the excess prostate tissue. They destroy and heat the tissue to alleviate a urine blockage.
Transurethral resection of the prostate works to give patients a stronger urine flow by removing the majority of the prostate but preserving the outer part of the gland.
Transurethral microwave thermotherapy involves using an electrode to send microwave energy to the prostate. It is done to shrink the prostate by destroying the inner portion of the gland. The goal is to improve urine flow.
A prostatectomy is another option. It can be done open or with the assistance of a robot. Both are performed to remove prostate tissue.
There are both enucleative and ablation procedures. The enucleative type removes any prostate tissue that is actively blocking urine flow. It also works to prevent this tissue from being able to grow back. The ablative type works to improve urine flow by vaporizing any prostate tissue causing an obstruction.