What is Enlarged Prostate/Benign Prostate Hypertrophy?
Benign Prostate Hypertrophy (BPH), explained in simple terms, is enlargement of prostate. During puberty, the prostate starts growing in size. The growth continues for the rest of life, though not consistently. When the prostate grows so much that the urethra near it is getting squeezed, the condition is called Benign Prostate Hypertrophy.
Note that BPH is neither prostate cancer nor does it cause cancer. But its symptoms can debilitate the quality of life of the patient.
What causes Enlarged prostate / BPH?
The exact causes of BPH are unknown. However, it is considered a natural part of male aging. This condition is common in men aged over 50. By the age of 80, almost all men have enlarged prostate. Hormonal changes, abnormal testicles and family history of prostate problems are some risk factors of BPH.
What are the symptoms of Enlarged Prostate?
BPH causes Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS):
- Need to urinate frequently
- Need to urinate more than once per night
- Strainful urination
- Dribbling of urine
- Leakage of urine
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Urgency of urination
- Painful urination
- Blood in urine
How is Enlarged Prostate diagnosed?
Diagnosis process of BPH involves:
- Going over medical history: History of LUTS hint BPH
- Physical examination: Rectal examination can determine the size and shape of prostate
- Lab tests: Urinalysis, cystoscopy, prostatic biopsy, post-void residual, urodynamic test and urography help diagnose BPH
Treatment for Enlarged Prostate / BPH?
The treatment of BPH varies based on age and symptoms.
To some extent, lifestyle changes can help manage the LUTS of BPH. Regular physical activity, moderate consumption of alcohol, urinating as soon as there is the urge, strengthening pelvic muscles, reducing stress and keeping warm, go a long way in relieving the symptoms of BPH. Follow up tests, help monitor the condition.
In cases where lifestyle changes are not enough, doctors recommend medication. There are two classes of medication used to manage BPH:
These medicines used to treat the symptoms of BPH. They relax the muscles of prostate and bladder neck, which allows urine to flow freely.
These medicines are used to treat BPH itself. They cause reduced production of testosterone, due to which the size of prostate gets smaller and urine flow improves.
In chronic cases, where medication turns out ineffective, a surgery is performed. There are non-invasive, minimally invasive and invasive procedures available to correct BPH.
Some common invasive procedures are:
- Holmium laser prostate surgery: Use a laser to remove tissue that is blocking urine flow through the prostate
- TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate): Remove the extra prostate tissue using an instrument that is passed through urethra
- TUMT (transurethral microwave thermotherapy): Destroy excess prostate tissue using microwaves
- Open prostatectomy: Removal of prostate
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