Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Symptoms, Treatment

Overview

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called prostate gland enlargement,
refers to a progressive, non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. It is a common disease in older men who are over the age of 40.

The prostate is a small, muscular gland in the male reproductive system. As men grow old, the prostate may become enlarged, which leads to BPH. When the condition occurs, it usually cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems. But luckily there are effective treatments for BPH available now.

Overall, the prevalence of BPH increases with aging. According to a 2005 report in the journal Reviews in Urology, about 10% of men are diagnosed with BPH in their 30s, 20% of men in their 40s, 60% of men in their 60s and 80 to 90% of men in their 70s.

Causes and Risk Factors

BPH happens when the prostate enlarges. At present, the exact cause of BPH is still unknown. But there are factors that may increase the risk of a man getting BPH, such as:

  • Older age
  • Family history
  • Ethnic background (White men and African American men are more likely to develop BPH than Asian men)
  • History of chronic health problems
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lack of physical exercises

Symptoms

If a man is with BPH, he may develop the following symptoms:

  • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Urinary urgency
  • Weak urine stream
  • Wakening during the night to urinate (nocturia)
  • Affected man’s perceived quality of life
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Dribbling at the end of urination

If you have the above-described symptoms, you should go to the hospital and get a definite diagnosis.

Diagnosis

To identify whether you have BPH or not, the doctor may perform a physical examination first. The doctor will ask your family history and medical history and check the size and shape of your prostate.

Then, in order to confirm a diagnosis, the doctor will order more tests, which may include the following:

  • Urinalysis
  • Prostatic biopsy
  • Urodynamic test
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
  • Cystoscopy
  • Intravenous pyelography or urography
  • Urinary flow test
  • Postvoid residual volume test
  • 24-hour voiding diary
  • Transrectal ultrasound
  • Prostate biopsy
  • Urodynamic and pressure flow studies

If you have been taking medications such as antidepressants, diuretics, sedatives, and antihistamines, you should tell your doctor. Some medications may cause similar symptoms as well.

Treatment

According to the specific situation of the patient’s prostate, the patient’s overall health, the patient’s age and the symptoms of the condition, the doctor will take different approaches to treat the disease.

Medications

If the patient undergoes only mild to moderate symptoms of BPH, the doctor may prescribe some medications to help reduce the symptoms. These medications may include:

  • Alpha blockers
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors
  • Combination drug therapy

Minimally invasive or surgical therapy

If the patient has moderate to severe symptoms or the medications do not work to improve the condition, then minimally invasive or surgical therapy may be recommended by the doctor.

Now, there are several types of minimally invasive or surgical therapies. The doctor will choose the best method for you.

  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
  • Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)
  • Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT)
  • Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA)

Laser therapy

Laser therapy may be an option for patients who can’t have surgery. In this procedure, a high-energy laser will be used to destroy or remove overgrown prostate tissue. It generally relieves symptoms right away.

Follow-up care

Different patients with BPH may require different follow-up care depending on the severity of the condition. In general, the doctor may advise the patient to avoid heavy lifting and excessive exercises for a week or more after therapy treatment. If the patient receives a prostatectomy, up to 6 weeks of activity restriction would be necessary.

Above all, the doctor will tailor your treatment plan if you are diagnosed with BPH. For more information, you can discuss your specific condition with your doctor.


Keywords: benign prostatic hyperplasia; BPH; prostate gland enlarge.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.