So, you’ve enlarged your prostate and are trying to figure out what to do next? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Different men react differently to the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, an increasingly common condition for men as they age.
An enlarged prostate can be troublesome, but you have numerous treatment options. Remember, it’s not cancer that requires prompt treatment.
The suitable BPH treatment depends upon the size of your prostate, the severity of your symptoms, your age, general health, and personal preference. However, not all men with BPH require treatment. You need to discuss your symptoms with a medical professional and work together to determine the best way to manage your condition.
What’s The Size Of An Enlarged Prostate?
The prostate gland is a significant component of the male reproductive system. Situated just beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum, this gland is accountable for producing fluid that supports sperm and provides the muscles the power needed for ejaculation. The prostate gland is generally compared to a walnut because its size and shape are roughly comparable to that of a walnut.
With growing age, the prostate gland of men also continues to grow. For many, this is a typical process, but for several others, this becomes a growing concern.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects nearly 50% of men between the ages 50 and 60 and about 90% of men over 80 years, although some men experience it as early as their 40s.
Not everyone with BPH experiences symptoms, but those who do will probably have an adverse impact on their life.
BPH Treatment Alternatives
Here are some effective BPH treatments:
If your symptoms don’t cause much trouble and you haven’t got any complications, you can choose to have you and your healthcare provider monitor your condition. This may mean consulting your doctor once or twice a year or sooner if your symptoms change or worsen.
You need to keep an eye on many things, including:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Feeling as if your bladder is full even when you’ve just peed
- Trouble starting the flow of urine
- A slow urine stream or dribbling at the end
- Having to start and stop multiple times while urinating
- Urine leakage
Following are the key reasons to consider monitoring or observing an enlarged prostate:
- Your BPH symptoms are mild.
- You don’t want to take the medication and expose yourself to its side effects.
- It’s relatively less expensive than medications or surgical treatments.
If you consider to monitor or observe your symptoms, here are a couple of things you can consider:
- Make slight changes in your habits
- Avoid certain over-the-counter medications
When Should You Go For BPH Treatment?
When your system becomes worse, it’s time to talk to your healthcare provider about an active BPH treatment. Below are certain things which you need to ask:
- How much your condition will improve from a BPH treatment
- How long will the effects last?
- Is there any chance of side effects?
From there, you can decide between BPH medication, supplements, or surgery with the advice of your doctor.
Many men with benign prostatic hyperplasia have only mild symptoms they can easily manage with slight lifestyle changes. This includes cutting back on alcohol and coffee, avoid drinking fluids close to your bedtime, avoid drugs such as antihistamines and decongestants, going to the bathroom whenever you get the chance (even if you don’t feel the urge) and as soon as you feel the urge, and considering other lifestyle changes. You are also recommended to practice kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles around your bladder.
Sure, BPH medications can provide much relief, but do you really need them?
Following are some reasons to consider prescription medications for an enlarged prostate:
- You have moderate BPH symptoms that aren’t getting better with time or might get worse.
- You have already tried making lifestyle changes but have seen no major improvement.
- You are at risk for BPH complications, such as being unable to empty your bladder.
Three types of drugs are available to treat moderate benign prostatic hyperplasia. Each works differently and has its own side effects. The types of BPH medications include:
Alpha-blockers: These drugs relax the muscles of your prostate and bladder to alleviate the symptom of BPH. Some examples of alpha-blockers medications include:
- alfuzosin (Uroxatral)
- terazosin (Hytrin)
- tamsulosin (Flomax)
- doxazosin (Cardura)
5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs): These medications help shrink your enlarged prostate and prevent growth. Some common examples of 5ARIs include:
- dutasteride (Avodart)
- finasteride (Proscar)
Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors)
PDE-5 inhibitors are also known to help improve the symptoms of BPH by increasing the blood flow rate. Some common examples of PDE-5 inhibitors easily accessible in the United States include
Men with very large prostate may need to take more than one medication, called combination therapy, to relieve their BPH symptoms and minimize the need for surgery.
The Food and Drug Administration requires 5 ARIs medications to include a warning that the users may get exposed to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Herbs and Supplements
Many men rely on herbal BPH treatments to relieve their symptoms. Saw palmetto extract, composed of berries from the saw palmetto shrub, is probably the most well-known treatment for enlarged prostate. Other alternative treatment options include Pygeum africanum herbal extract and beta-sitosterol.
These alternative treatments have shown mixed results in various studies. Also, some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with other medications. So, it’s advised to always talk to your doctor before you start using any herbal treatment for an enlarged prostate.
Sometimes BPH symptoms do not respond to lifestyle changes, medication, and herbal treatments. If this holds true for you, you can consider minimally invasive procedures or surgical BPH treatment alternatives.
Your healthcare provider will recommend surgery if you are unable to pee at all or have:
- Urinary tract infections or bleeding
- Stones in your bladder
- Urinary retention
- Kidney damage
With minimally invasive procedures for enlarged prostate, your doctor will make small incisions or work with probes they insert through your penis. These treatments usually mean less pain and scarring and faster recoveries.
Conventional, open surgery is also a viable option. Talk to your doctor and determine what’s most appropriate for your case.