Enlarged Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that affects more than 50 percent of men over the age of 60. When it occurs the prostate gland presses against and narrows the urethra making it difficult to urinate. Depending on the symptoms or the severity of one’s benign prostatic hyperplasia, your doctor will prescribe a number of treatment alternatives.
Drug therapy is often used to provide relief from symptoms and to help reduce the enlargement of the prostate gland. These are especially helpful where the symptoms are mild. There may be side effects and the drugs must be taken regularly for the rest of one’s life. Additionally, the drugs may lose their effectiveness over time.
The use of surgical intervention is recommended to relieve or eliminate symptoms and when symptoms are severe or other options haven’t worked. Procedures include:
TURP (Transurethral resection of the prostate) –the most common type of BPH surgery that generally provides long-term relief. Side effects can include erectile dysfunction and bleeding.
Prostatectomy – performed to remove large amounts of prostate tissue. This procedure is performed in a hospital and under general anesthesia. As with medication, there can be side effects that most notably can include erectile dysfunction or incontinence.
Minimally Invasive Treatments –by their nature, these treatments are not as invasive as surgery and can be performed in an outpatient environment. These can include:
- Thermography– for treating patients with moderate symptoms. This treatment uses heat to destroy prostate tissue. Microwave energy is a major approach for this treatment.
- Laser Therapy – to treat mild to severe symptoms. This approach most commonly uses GreenLight™ Laser Therapy together with TURP to provide effectiveness with fewer side effects.
- Urethral Stent – for use with patients who are not candidates for surgery. It involves placing a mesh tube to hold the urethra open at the point where it is obstructed by the prostate gland.