The prostate is a gland the size of a walnut and produces semen. The prostate is located just below the bladder, wrapped around the top part of the urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder). As men age, the number of prostate cells increase. Why this happens is unknown, but it is thought to be related to decreasing hormone levels in the body. This condition affects 23 million men world wide, most of them over the age of 50. BPH is not life threatening, nor is it cancerous.
If BPH is left untreated, it may lead to more serious conditions such as urinary retention, bladder stones, urinary and kidney infections.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of BPH include:
- Urinary retention (inability to pass urine).
- Urinary tract infections.
- Incontinence (loss of control of the release of urine)
- Hematuria (blood in urine).
- Frequency and/or urgency
When symptoms are mild, your doctor may just monitor your condition and ask you to track your symptoms before deciding if any treatment is necessary.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate due to BPH, there are several treatment options available. Consult your physician to determine which treatment is right for you.
Prescription drug therapy.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to manage your symptoms. These medications include alpha blockers which relax the muscles around the neck of your bladder, making it easier to urinate, and alpha reductase inhibitors which act to shrink the prostate. While medications can be helpful in relieving symptoms for some men, patients must continue taking them long-term to maintain the effects.
Some patients may suffer side-effects including dizziness, headaches, or sexual dysfunction. Some may not get adequate relief of their symptoms. Over 16% of men on medication for BPH discontinue treatment early for reasons such as being dissatisfied with side-effects or not getting adequate symptom relief.
Speak with your doctor about what medications could be beneficial for you.
UroLift® System Treatment
The UroLift® System treatment is a minimally invasive approach to treating BPH that lifts or holds the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way so it no longer blocks the urethra. There is no cutting, heating or removal of prostate tissue. Clinical data has shown that the UroLift System treatment is safe and effective in relieving lower urinary tract symptoms due to BPH without any impact to sexual function.
Learn more about how the UroLift System treatment works or visit our FAQ page for more information on the benefits, risks, and recovery.
Thermotherapies are minimally invasive treatments where heat energy such as microwave or water vapor therapy is applied to destroy prostate tissue. Less invasive than TURP, these treatments are generally safe, can be performed under local anesthesia and provide moderate symptom relief for some patients.
Applying high heat to the prostate can cause tissue swelling and uncomfortable urinary symptoms during the healing period. Symptom relief does not occur immediately, and patients often need to have a catheter that is attached to a urine bag inserted into their bladder during the recovery period.
Laser Resection or Vaporization of the Prostate
TURP may be performed with a laser in procedures called photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP) or holmium laser enucleation (HOLEP). Laser therapy lessens the bleeding risks of traditional TURP. However, since prostate tissue is still removed, there can be tissue swelling and an uncomfortable healing time. Typically, a catheter has to be inserted into the bladder after the procedure.
Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
TURP is the most common surgery to treat BPH. During this procedure, patients undergo general anesthesia, and prostate tissue is removed. TURP is often considered the “gold standard” for long-term results. After prostate tissue has been removed, the body needs time to heal. The remaining prostate tissue may actually swell and become inflamed before the desired shrinking effect occurs. Patients may suffer an uncomfortable recovery period that includes short-term problems such as bleeding, infection, erectile dysfunction, and urinary incontinence. Patients have to have a catheter that is attached to a urine bag inserted into their bladder for several days after the procedure. Symptom relief may not occur immediately, but lasts for a long time in many patients once it does occur. There can be long-term side effects after TURP such as dry orgasm (retrograde ejaculation), erectile dysfunction or incontinence (leaking of urine).