Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
BPH is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland, affecting more than 50% of men over the age of 60. As the prostate grows, it presses against and narrows the urethra, causing a urinary obstruction that makes it difficult to urinate.
BPH symptoms are caused by an enlarged prostate gland. BPH is thought to be a natural part of aging. It is related to the presence of circulating male hormones. Risk factors of BPH include increasing age and a family history of BPH. BPH does not lead to prostate cancer, although a patient may have both conditions.
You may notice BPH symptoms as a gradual diminishment in your bladder’s function. Typical symptoms include:
- Decreased Stream—Decreased size and strength of urine stream; a weak urine flow
- Hesitancy—Having a hard time “getting started”
- Intermittence—An “on again, off again” flow of urine
- Incomplete Urination—The feeling that your bladder is not quite empty after you urinate
- Urinary Retention—Being completely unable to urinate
- Frequency—Having to urinate much more often than usual
- Urgency—An extremely strong desire to urinate as soon as possible
- Nocturia—The need to get up and urinate in the night
- Incontinence—Being unable to hold back urine until you reach the bathroom
BPH can cause problems with urination, such as:
- Waking frequently during the night
- An increased urge to urinate and difficulty postponing it
- Difficulty or pain when starting urination
- A weak urine flow
- A feeling of not completely emptying the bladder
If left untreated, BPH and the symptoms resulting from BPH, can cause permanent damage to the urinary system.
Depending on the severity of your enlarged prostate or BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) symptoms, there are number of treatment alternatives to consider. You and your doctor can work together to find the best solution for you.
In cases of mild enlarged prostate (BPH) symptoms, medications may provide relief for many men. Drugs are costly, must be taken regularly for the rest of your life, and may stop working over time. Side effects can include lowered sexual drive, erection problems, dizziness, low blood pressure and nasal congestion.
Surgery (prostatectomy) may be recommended if your enlarged prostate (BPH) symptoms are severe or other treatment options haven’t been successful for you. Enlarged prostate (BPH) surgeries remove large amounts of prostate tissue. They are performed in a hospital or surgical center and require general anesthesia. Surgery carries the risk of serious side effects, such as erection problems (erectile dysfunction) or impotence, and incontinence (the inability to control your bladder).
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is the most common enlarged prostate (BPH) surgery and can provide long-term relief. It requires a 2-3 day hospital stay and activities are restricted for about 6 weeks. Side effects can include erectile dysfunction, and bleeding.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
AMS is the leading innovator in developing minimally invasive treatment options for enlarged prostates (BPH). We help physicians cover the complete spectrum of solutions for patients suffering from an enlarged prostate (BPH), from mildly symptomatic to severely obstructed.
- Thermotherapy – Used for mild to moderate symptoms, this method uses heat to target and destroy the prostate tissue. Heat can be applied to the prostate using several different sources, including microwave energy, as with the TherMatrx® Office Thermo Therapy™ from AMS.
- Laser Therapy – Used for mild to severe symptoms, GreenLight™ Laser Therapy is a minimally invasive surgical treatment option that combines the effectiveness of TURP with fewer side effects.
- Urethral Stent – Used as a treatment for obstructed patients who are not candidates for surgery, the UroLume® Urethral Stent from AMS is a mesh tube that holds the urethra open at the point of obstruction. It is placed through the urethra in an outpatient procedure.
Seeing a Physician
The first step is to discuss the condition with a urologist, a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the urinary tract and urogenital system.
Do You Have BPH? The AUA Symptom Index
Your BPH symptoms should be measured using a set of questions from the American Urological Association (AUA). The questionnaire appears below. Your physician can also provide you with this questionnaire. It can help your doctor diagnose BPH by assigning a “score” to your symptoms. By answering these questions, you can help your doctor get a better idea of whether or not you have BPH.