Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate that often occurs as we age. As the prostate enlarges, it may squeeze down on the urethra and cause the bladder wall to become thicker. Eventually, the bladder may weaken and lose its ability to empty completely, which is known as urinary retention. This, along with the narrowing of the urethra, typically causes many of the problems associated with BPH.
As the prostate enlarges, it can irritate or block the bladder. This often results in:
While BPH is benign and does not cause nor lead to cancer, the two can happen at the same time. Please seek immediate treatment if you may have blood in your urine, feel pain or burning when you urinate, or cannot urinate at all. It may be an emergency.
If you have urinary concerns, discuss them with your urologist. Your doctor will ask detailed questions about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam, which may include a:
There is a variety of effective treatments for enlarged prostate. Ideal treatment options depend on personal factors including age, overall health, prostate size, and amount of discomfort. If symptoms are tolerable, you and your doctor may just monitor your symptoms. For some men, symptoms may ease without treatment. If they do not, your doctor may recommend:
Medication, the most common treatment for mild to moderate prostate enlargement, includes alpha blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, a combination drug therapy and Tadalafil. Each works differently in the body, and has its own side effects.
If symptoms are moderate to severe, and medication has not relieved symptoms, there are minimally invasive options available:
Robotic surgery, using the daVinci® Xi robotic system, is an option for men with very large prostates. Robotic surgery results in less postoperative pain, reduced blood loss during surgery, a shorter hospital stay, less risk of infection, minimal scarring, and a faster return to normal activity compared to open surgery.
The best treatment for an enlarged prostate varies, so talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of each one. Or make an appointment with a Summa Health urologist to discuss.