Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Treatment

Men with symptoms of BPH will normally need treatment at some point in their life. There are researchers who question early treatment and believe if the prostate is only slightly enlarged you should take a “watch and see” attitude. They believe some symptoms of BPH may clear up without treatment. If you are taking a “watch and see” attitude, be sure you have regular checkups to watch for any serious problems. Treatment can be started if the disease becomes uncomfortable or causing inconveniences in his life and career.

BPH can also cause urinary tract infections but these can be treated with an antibiotic. Most doctors will recommend treatment if the enlarged prostate causes health concerns for the patient.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Researchers and scientists have been looking for ways to shrink the prostate gland or at least stop its growth without using surgery. There are drugs available approved by the Federal Drug Administration. At least six have been approved since 1992. Four of these drugs belong in the alpha-blocker class and were first approved to treat high blood pressure.

They all act by relaxing the smooth muscle of the prostate and bladder neck. Relaxation will help improve the flow of urine and reduce bladder obstacles. Often treatment will include a two-drug therapy because a combination of two drugs has been found effective in treating BPH.

Thermotherapy

Another form of treatment may be effective if the medications did not help the problem. Doctors have found a less invasive way of reducing symptoms other than conventional surgery. In 1996 the FDA approved the use of microwaves to destroy excess prostate tissue using heat. Thermotherapy uses a device that sends microwaves through a catheter to heat portions of the prostate. The temperature reaches 111 degrees Fahrenheit and is focused on preselected parts of the prostate gland. A cooling system is used to protect the urinary tract while the procedure is being done.

This procedure usually takes about one hour and is performed as an outpatient surgery without general anesthesia. This procedure causes few if any sexual side effects. This procedure will not cure BPH but will help urinating often and intermittent flow. It will not fix the problem of the bladder not emptying. Long-term results have not yet been determined and research will decide who is a candidate for this procedure.

Transurethral Needle Ablation

Another noninvasive treatment uses a needle to send radio frequency energy through the needles to burn away portions of the enlarged prostate. The method is known as transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) relieves symptoms with few side effects or problems with having an erection.

Therapy using heated water also helps destroy excess tissue in the prostate gland. A catheter with multiple shafts is positioned in the urethra and a treatment balloon rests in the middle of the prostate. The water temperature is controlled by a computer and heats the tissue surrounding the balloon. Any tissue that is destroyed is passed through urination or is absorbed into the body. These are noninvasive treatments for BPH.