What is BPH?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is a condition in which the prostate enlarges as men get older. BPH is a very common condition that affects over 40 million Americans and over 500 million aging men worldwide. Over 40% of men in their 50s and over 70% of men in their 60s have BPH1. While BPH is a benign condition and unrelated to prostate cancer, it can greatly affect a man’s quality of life.
As the prostate enlarges, it presses on and blocks the urethra, causing bothersome urinary symptoms such as:
- Frequent need to urinate both day and night
- Weak or slow urinary stream
- A sense that you cannot completely empty your bladder
- Difficulty or delay in starting urination
- Sudden and urgent feeling of needing to urinate
- A urinary stream that stops and starts
- A sensation that you still need to urinate immediately after finishing
If you suffer from the above symptoms, you are not alone. BPH is the leading reason men visit a urologist.2 These symptoms indicate varying degrees of bladder dysfunction, and should alert men to seek treatment to help preserve bladder health and lower the risk of long term complications.
You can measure the severity of your BPH symptoms by taking the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) questionnaire.
- Berry, et al., Journal of Urology 1984
- IMS Health NDTI Urology Specialty Profile Report 2013
What can be done to treat BPH?
The team at Spokane Urology begins with a thorough history about your condition and an exam. This includes a discussion of your symptoms and a review of existing health problems and medications.
Lifestyle modifications can help relieve BPH symptoms. Improving your diet, reducing your consumption of bladder irritants such as alcohol and caffeine, and limiting fluid intake in the hours before bedtime can help.
Medications can play a role in your treatment plan. Some drugs relax the muscles around the bottom of the bladder and prostate to reduce obstruction. Others can gradually reduce the size of your prostate by blocking certain hormonal pathways. Medications can have side effects which should be discussed before starting them. If medications do not help enough or cause bothersome side effects, you should discuss procedure options with your urologist.
Are there procedures that can treat BPH?
If medications and lifestyle changes don’t yield the desired results or you have bothersome side effects from the medications, there are surgical procedures that can help. Surgery can also be used to either avoid medications or get patients off medication if they prefer. Evaluation prior to may include cystoscopy, which involves using a small scope to look inside your urethra and bladder and ultrasound or other imaging to evaluate your prostate size.
A specialist at Spokane Urology can discuss the range of procedure options available, including a minimally invasive treatment called UroLift®, which uses tiny implants to hold the prostate open to improve the flow of urine. Other options include removing part of your prostate or reducing its size using electrical energy, laser energy, or radiofrequency energy. In some cases when the prostate is massively enlarged, a laparoscopic procedure may be necessary to remove the obstructing part of the prostate.
If your diagnostic exam and subsequent testing reveal your symptoms are due to an enlarged prostate gland, your Spokane Urology provider will discuss the details of all the available treatment options. That process begins with scheduling a visit, which can be done online or over the phone today.