Before we get into the many treatments available for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), let’s first recap what we know about what the prostate does, where it’s located, and why it is important to treat an enlarged prostate.
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. The main function of the prostate is to secrete prostate fluid (this is one of the components of semen). The prostate gland plays a seminal (excuse the pun) role in the basic function of the male body as it helps propel the seminal fluid into the urethra during ejaculation. Surrounding the urethra, the prostate gland is located just beneath the bladder. Should a man’s prostate grow larger than usual, it can squeeze the urethra, causing a weak urine stream and other bothersome urinary symptoms. Throughout a man’s lifetime, especially from 25 years old onward, the prostate grows; it’s a natural part of aging. But, if it grows too large, it can be painful and you should seek medical attention.
Now for a brief overview of available treatments.
There are several effective treatments for prostate gland enlargement which range from oral medication to minimally invasive therapies and surgery. By discussing your symptoms with your doctor, a proper course will be prescribed.
Once the size of the prostate has been assessed through a rectal examination, your doctor might recommend any of the following diagnostic tests:
- Urinalysis (urine test)
- Ultrasound of the prostate
- Measuring urine left in the bladder after urinating
- Cystoscopy to look at the urethra or bladder with a scope
- Urodynamic testing to measure the pressure in the bladder during urination
Based on the results, a variety of medications and treatments will be discussed.
- Alpha Blockers: Reducing the symptoms and blockage of the urethra, this oral medication relaxes the muscles of the prostate and bladder to provide much needed relief for urinary problems.
- Alpha Reductase Inhibitors: Blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), this pill is effective for men whose prostate is imposing on the bladder or urethra. DHT is considered to be a factor in prostate enlargement, so this pill could work to prohibit further growth.
- UroLift System: Relieving lower urinary tract symptoms, the UroLift has shown to be a safe and effective, minimally invasive treatment to treat an enlarged prostate by holding the prostate tissue away from the gland so it no longer blocks the urethra.
- Surgery: Once other treatments have been ruled out, surgery is an option if you are still unable to urinate or if you developed bladder stones. There are a couple surgeries that can be performed from like the Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or the Open Prostatectomy.
- Lifestyle Factors: Taking your health into your own hands, there are a few things you can try at home to ease symptoms like limiting liquid consumption before bed time, restraining from caffeine or alcohol, scheduling bathroom visits, following a healthy diet, staying active, keeping warm, and of course, the best and only way to know something’s up is to…
- Have the Balls to Talk About It.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is fairly common and can be treated. Take a quick body scan and think about whether or not everything feels normal. If the answer is no, or if you have any hesitation whatsoever, pick up the phone or email to schedule a visit.