Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Treating BPH Symptoms
The prostate is a gland that is located below a manís bladder and surrounds the urethra, or urine tube. As a man ages, this gland often enlarges from its normal walnut size and compresses the urethra, causing an obstruction to urine flow. This condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
It is estimated that BPH affects about 59% of men between the ages of 51 to 60 and about 90% men older than 80. Although BPH is one of the most common diseases in modern western society, its etiological factors and possible preventive measures remain largely obscure.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Symptoms
BPH can cause some or all of the following symptoms:
Difficulty in starting the urine stream
Weak urine stream
Frequent need to urinate caused by incomplete emptying of the bladder
Needing to urinate two or more times per night
Dribbling after urination
Pain with urination
Bloody urine (may also indicate infection)
There are four ways to treat an enlarged prostate:
Surgery to Treat an Enlarged Prostate
All surgery has risks, but if your BPH symptoms are severe (a score of 20 or more in the AUA Symptom Score Index), surgery or a related modality is usually recommended. A surgery performed through the penis and that does not require an incision through the skin is typically used. These modalities include:
Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) is the most common treatment employed. This procedure is performed by inserting a scope through the penis and removing or reducing the prostate piece by piece.
Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) uses a heated needle to destroy portions of the prostate tissue.
Transurethral Microwave Therapy (TUMT) TUMT uses microwaves to destroy portions of the prostate.
Other types as determined by the specific condition, such as lasers to vaporize and cauterize the tissue or cryotherapy.
All surgery, including minimally invasive procedures, involves risk and a certain amount of discomfort or pain. They may also include complications, such as bleeding, infection, retrograde ejaculation, incontinence, impotence and others.
Medications to Treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Symptoms
Keep in mind that all drugs have side effects. Medications used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) fall into three categories:
Hormone Inhibitors 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors are drugs that reduce the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is formed by a combination of the enzyme 5-Alpha Reductase and testosterone , a hormone produced largely by the testicles in men. DTH promotes prostate growth. Therefore, inhibiting this enzyme reduces excess prostate growth. Drugs in this group include finesteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart).
Alpha 1-Blockers Alpha 1-blockers are a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure and are used to relax the muscles of the bladder neck, allowing easier urination. Included in this classification are terazosin (Hytrin), doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax), afluzosin (Uroxatral) prazosin (Minipress) and others.
Herbal Remedies The most popular herbal remedy is saw palmetto extract, which inhibits the production of DHT and is said to reduce the size of the prostate. Other botanicals are extracts from stinging nettles, pygeum (bark of an African tree), pumpkin seeds, rye pollen, flax seed oil and others. Few of these botanicals have been subject to controlled studies or critical research, therefore it is not known how effective they may be singularly or in combination.
Many therapists also suggest mineral supplements such as zinc, copper and selenium.
Lifestyle Changes to Treat BPH Symptoms
At least one study has shown that physically active men have a lower frequency of BPH symptoms. Cold weather, lack of physical exercise, and being overweight may cause symptoms to worsen. Riding bicycles with racing seats has also been shown exacerbate the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Fluid intake should be spread throughout the day as drinking large quantities of fluid all at once can also impact symptoms. Urination should be attempted when the urge is first felt. Stress should be reduced, as nervousness and tension can lead to more frequent urination.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms can flare up and cause pain and discomfort. In addition to treatment recommended by your urologist, you can reduce BPH symptoms by eliminating certain foods from your diet and avoiding environmental triggers.